Is Internet of Things is becoming a Tracking tool?

When I am not at home, I want to check my family through the doorbell camera in the morning, where I can see them go to work and go to school; at night, I can judge whether my daughter is late night on phone according to the lighting scene there. Upstairs in her room; I can also know when my husband started to exercise; sometimes, if you call home and no one answers, I will check our car to see where it may be.

Although my family knows all the IoT devices we have, sometimes my use of these devices does frustrate them. But they understand me, love me, and know that I am doing this to keep in touch with them when I am out.

Is Internet of Things is becoming a Tracking tool

I will respect my family’s decision because I love them. Except for a little comfort, I didn’t think about finding anything else in them. However, these devices not only provide me with a window to understand what the family is doing or where they are, but they also provide access to my family’s data for Nest, Google, and various third parties.

The difference is I can stop access my family data if they want, however about third parties company you will never realize that they are collecting the data even with your consent. They don’t even provide a way for us to ask them not to pay attention to our lives. The data captured by those companies is transmitted to their servers, and we don’t know how well the data is protected, how it is used, or even how long they or any third party can use it.

In most cases, the only way to avoid these data capture strategies is to stop using IOT the products like smart speakers, but I want to know if there are non-networked versions of the product in a few years. In some cases, such as when a patient is required to sign the right to use certain private information before a long-awaited appointment by a doctor, choosing whether to avoid collecting data does not actually have a choice at all.

This is not a new problem, but it is becoming more and more urgent. As the Universal Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are passed in the EU, many companies have changed the way they use consumer data and allow consumers to have more hold over their data in the process.

The positive part of the regulation is the ability to write to the company’s data protection officer to see how the company uses your data and to ask the company to clear the data and to explain why it was collected. Perfect! Isn’t? There is ample evidence that these rules are good for big companies rather than small ones, and even help to consolidate the data monopoly of technology giants.

However, as a society, we must make regulations, and we must do so now. When a company implants a microcomputer into an item and connects those items to the Internet, the amount of data that can be collected is staggering. By storing data from different sources in the cloud and refining the algorithms to analyze the data, the ability to track individuals, market individuals, and even assess an individual’s health and well-being will be incredibly powerful.

This is the core of the Internet of Things: the ability to collect, analyze, and draw conclusions at a low price. It can save energy when applied to industrial processes. When applied to medicine, it can help allocate resources such as nurses or equipment. When applied to cities, it can reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

However, when the Internet of Things is used to set the amount of marketing, insurance, or loans, or to decide who can get a job or service, it becomes evil. This is a problem in marketing because you can customize marketing that is not really meaningful, but a psychological manipulation and people may not even realize that this manipulation will affect their purchase. In the healthcare field, this data can be used to determine which patients are worthy of care and which patients are not worthy of care. One reason I am worried is that all of these algorithms are built on a human bias, and these biases affect how the machine takes action. Another reason I worry is that the data involved in these decisions will come from consumers, and consumers don’t even know they provide the data.

In addition, in some cases, companies that collect this data may not have a plan, or they have a plan, but they may not be able to communicate the plan exactly with the user. There are many companies that collect data just to collect data. Recently, a General Motors executive showed advertisers the results of a survey of GM car owners listening to radio stations. General Motors conducted a sample survey of the radio stations the car owners were listening to and where they listened to radio stations without telling the owner. The data is collected by the car’s Wi-Fi network and sent to General Motors.

I have no doubt that when customers buy GM, these customers click “Yes” in the long-term agreement, indicating that they will share the data with GM, and may even share it with some third parties. Perhaps, when you are ready to buy a car, or after buying a car, you can choose to click on the data usage confirmation before connecting the car to Wi-Fi, but this is too late. Because even if consumers read the policy and expressed disagreement, car dealers will not easily agree to the full refund. In addition, in the face of such opaque agreements, few people will really change their vehicle choices.

GM clearly knows that it has an advantage in this regard. When asked why the car owner’s listening habits were sampled, Saejin Park, GM’s director of global digital transformation, said: “We sample every minute because we can.”

On the other hand, consumers don’t understand what they gave up. They also don’t understand how the aggregation and analysis of these data will manipulate them. Sometimes, they are forced to help, such as after purchasing a car, or five minutes before the doctor makes an appointment, they really want to retain these rights.

I raised this issue because the United States is holding a hearing on data usage and privacy to prepare for a new law. In an ideal world, the law will help solve privacy issues at the macro level, giving consumers the right to take back their data and control how the data is used. I also want to know how companies communicate their use of data to make sure they provide clear, transparent terms before someone buys a product, so users don’t click on a 40-page service agreement on the oven or car touch screen…

We also need an appropriate process to analyze and audit the company’s algorithms, many of which may result in queued waits, substandard care, or inability to get basic services at a reasonable price. However, companies often argue that analysis and auditing algorithms infringe on their intellectual property and that their algorithms are proprietary.

But through auditing, we can challenge companies with biased algorithms, but at the same time do not force any of them to reveal secrets. Is this a messy process? of course. But the Federal Communications Commission is a good example of how we have previously established institutions that can handle this high-tech review process in a democratic manner. The Federal Communications Commission has a group of highly respected engineering and technical staff who have indeed made fair policy decisions.

The Federal Trade Commission may be the appropriate body to handle such data audits and various privacy policy-related reviews, and they also have technical experts in this area. Their role should be to ensure that consumers can use IoT devices without revealing privacy and to prevent consumers from being manipulated or discriminated against.

This is not because we ask too much, but if we don’t ask, the Internet of Things will become a monitoring tool, which will benefit the excessively enthusiastic government and company profits, and consumers will be the price to pay for it.

Author: Stacey Higginbotham
Source: IOT home network

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