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The Internet of Things will make us all mind readers

Telepathy and trust are the hot topics of our IoT privacy debate
Fri Mar 21 2014, 11:55
Vulcan mind meld-the Internet of Things could turn us into mind readers

THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) is set to dramatically change how we work and play.

This week, we've been running a debate on The INQUIRER into whether The Internet of Things Will Kill Privacy. Friday marks our final day - and your last chance to get involved and vote.

Tech commentator and INQUIRER writer Chris Merriman has today decided that the Internet of Things will turn us all into mind readers; while Louise Taylor, senior associate at international law firm Taylor Wessing, notes that the IoT industry will need to gain and guarantee our trust in order to succeed. You can read their articles in full at the Internet of Things debate site.

On Thursday, Merriman made the point that we need to concentrate on educating people on how to share information responsibily to maintain privacy in the IoT era, while Taylor argued that the privacy policies required to manage IoT data could actually have the effect of reinforcing the importance of data protection.

On Wednesday, we were joined by Karen Lomas, IoT Curator and Director, Strategy & Business Transformation at Intel in our guest post. Lomas painted a vivid picture of how the Internet of Things has a direct impact on our standard day to day activities.

"The data involved, gathered and shared in this 'average day' is vast, the sensors that capture and create much of the information are phenomenal. Yet today I have little control over what is shared and with whom. Do I care? Yes. There is some data that I am happy to share (my food preferences and allergies), some that I am happy it is gathered anonymously (my journey and timings)," she noted.

"The bigger issue for privacy may be who decides. Who decides what of our data is private and what is available to be bought and sold. Who decides whether in order to use the most popular websites we have to sign away all our rights, or is there an alternative where we get to be the decision maker?"

Visit the debate site to read Lomas's views in full.

On Tuesday, Merriman argued that the IoT will kill off any remaining privacy we have online, while in the other corner, Taylor, senior associate at international law firm Taylor Wessing, maintained that existing laws and regulations are adequate to protect our data when it's collected by smart devices and sent on to third parties.

Spurred on by developments such as Google's Android Wear, an operating system designed for smartwatches, organisations are looking to apply sensors to a huge range of devices, allowing us to monitor and manage activities like fitness and energy use - which throws up several issues around privacy.

So who is right, Chris or Louise, or a bit of both? Do you think the Internet Of Things will kill privacy, or is there an easy solution to the issue of smart data protection? Or has Intel's Lomas changed your mind on privacy and IoT? You have one more day to let us know by casting your vote and leaving a comment on the debate site. The debate ends on Friday evening. µ


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