“Today computers — and, therefore, the Internet — are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code.
The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy — all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things — using data they gathered without any help from us — we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.”
Kevin Ashton, cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, first mentioned the Internet of Things in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vision in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, big data, and the Internet.
Imagine attending a networking event and you are trying to make a decision who to to talk to. By having your smartphone in learning mode, you point the mobile device at an individual and if they are open you can learn more about there business, what their hobbies are, and even their relationship capital or RC credibility rating. Think of RC Credibility Rating is to trustworthiness as your FICO or credit score is to your creditworthiness. This can all be done before you even strike-up a conversation.
In a detailed report on the Internet of Things (IoT), released this past January, the Federal Trade Commission made a series of recommendations on the specific steps businesses can take to enhance and protect consumers’ privacy and security. As Americans start to leverage the capabilities from a world of Internet-connected devices, trust in this taking center stage.
The report took part of its input from credible technologists, consumer advocates, academics, industry ambassadors, and others who collaborated in the FTC’s Internet of Things workshop which took place in Washington D.C. on Nov. 19, 2013. FTC Staff defined the Internet of Things as devices or sensors – other than computers, smartphones, or tablets – that connect, store or transmit information with or between each other via the Internet. The scope of the report is limited to IoT devices that are sold to or used by consumers.
The Internet of Things is already affecting the lives of millions of Americans through the adoption of:
- Health and fitness monitors
- Home security devices
- Connected cars
- Household appliances, among other applications
Such gadgets offer the potential for improved health-monitoring, safer highway travel, and more efficient energy consumption, among other rewards. On the other hand, the FTC report shows that these connected devices highlight quite a few privacy and security issues that could weaken customer trust.
The Internet of Things universe is growing rapidly, and there is currently 25 billion connected devices worldwide, with that number set to grow to 50 billion by 2020. This growth will primarily come from automobile manufacturers, healthcare providers, consumer goods companies, and other industries as they continue to invest in connected devices, according to this report.
Security was one of the primary topics discussed at the workshop, specifically due to the highly connected nature of the devices. The report made the following recommendations for companies developing Internet of Things (IoT) devices:
- Construct and integrate security into devices at the beginning of the design process not as an add-on.
- When a security risk is identified, consider a “defense-in-depth” strategy whereby numerous layers of security may be used to defend against a specific risk.
- Analyze measures to keep unauthorized users from accessing an individual’s device, data, or personal information stored on the network.
- ensure that when outside service providers are contracted, that those providers are qualified to maintain appropriate security, and provide effective management of the providers
- Throughout their life cycle, monitor theses connected devices and where possible, provide security patches to address known operational risks.
- train employees in the importance of security, and guarantee that security is controlled and managed at an the most effective level in the organization.
The FTC commission also proposed that businesses consider data minimization – in other words, limit the collection and retention of consumer data and information for a defined period of time. The report highlights that data minimization solves two key privacy risks: First, the risk that a business entity with a large database of customer data will become an attractive target for hackers, and second, that customer information will be used in ways opposite to customer beliefs.
The report recommends an adaptable approach to data minimization. Under the recommendations, companies can choose to collect no data, data limited to the specific categories required to provide the service by the device, less sensitive data; or choose to remove identification data that is collected.