The New Predicament: Data Privacy Issues

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We are approaching a more modern, technologically advanced world, which has its own miraculous advantages as its destructive disadvantages.

When something is connected to the internet, that means that it can send information or receive information, or both. The internet of Things is about extending the power of the internet beyond computers and smartphones to a whole range of other things, processes, and environments.

IoT provides businesses and people better insight into and control over 99 percent of objects and environments that remain beyond the reach of the internet. And by doing so, IoT allows businesses and people to be more connected to the world around them and to do more meaningful, higher-level work.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

We would be heading for a world that will have 64 billion IoT devices by 2025.

But here’s the downside: There is a black hole out there, and you would never know when, how or who can have access to your private information.

From blackouts to cyber-attacks, various nations have faced and are facing different strikes on their critical infrastructure, such as power grids, hydroelectric dams, chemical plants, securities.

And aside from these security issues, the average consumer is concerned about his or her privacy.

Consumer sentiment about the way data is handled, especially by businesses, tells a disappointing truth, According to recent research, of respondents among adults,

  • 81% feel they have very little to no control over the data that companies collect about them;
  • 81% feel that the risks of companies collecting data about them outweigh the benefits;
  • 79% are very concerned about how companies use the data collected;
  • 59% feel they have very little to no understanding about what companies do with the data collected;
  • 63% say they understand very little or nothing at all about the laws and regulations that are currently in place to protect their data privacy.
  • 79% don’t believe that companies will admit mistakes and take responsibility when they misuse or compromise data;
  • 75% don’t believe that companies will be held accountable by the government if they misuse data

There are some of the biggest IoT security and privacy issues as we head towards this ‘bringing everyone closer’ world.

Public Perception: If the IoT is ever going to truly take off, this needs to be the first problem that manufacturers address. People are very concerned about the possibility of their information getting stolen from their smart home, and with that level of worry, consumers would hesitate to purchase connected devices.

Vulnerability to Hacking: Researchers have been able to hack into real, on-the-market devices with enough time and energy, which means hackers would likely be able to replicate their efforts. For example, a team of researchers at Microsoft and the University of Michigan found a plethora of holes in the security of Samsung's SmartThings smart home platform, and the methods were far from complex.

True Security: Jason Porter, AT&T's VP of security solutions, told Insider Intelligence that securing IoT devices means more than simply securing the actual devices themselves. Companies also need to build security into software applications and network connections that link to those devices.

IoT Privacy Issues

Too Much Data: The sheer amount of data that IoT devices can generate is staggering. A Federal Trade Commission report entitled "Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World" found that fewer than 10,000 households can generate 150 million discrete data points every day. This creates more entry points for hackers and leaves sensitive information vulnerable.

Unwanted Public Profile: You've undoubtedly agreed to terms of service at some point, but have you ever actually read through an entire document? The aforementioned FTC report found that companies could use collected data that consumers willingly offer to make employment decisions. For example, an insurance company might gather information from you about your driving habits through a connected car when calculating your insurance rate. The same could occur for health or life insurance thanks to fitness trackers.

Eavesdropping: Manufacturers or hackers could actually use a connected device to virtually invade a person's home. German researchers accomplished this by intercepting unencrypted data from a smart meter device to determine what television show someone was watching at that moment.

Consumer Confidence: Each of these problems could put a dent in consumers' desire to purchase connected products, which would prevent the IoT from fulfilling its true potential.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in India has been influenced by global developments as well as the country’s own constitutional jurisprudence.

Though the constitution does not explicitly mention a right to privacy, Indian courts have held that a right to privacy exists under the right to life guaranteed under Article 21.5.

However, there was always some ambiguity regarding the exact nature of the constitutional protection of privacy due to the long-standing judgment of the Supreme Court in Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, where the court held that a right to privacy did not exist under the constitution.

The growth of the Indian information technology industry and the telecom revolution, which started in the late 1990s, led to the proliferation of digital services in India. This has had two significant consequences.

First, the country is increasingly interconnected due to the growth of digital services and platforms.

Second, the government has recognized that online service delivery is a powerful vehicle for achieving policy objectives such as financial inclusion and delivering cash transfers. This objective has been facilitated largely by the implementation of Aadhaar.

Our need to control what we hide and what we share extends from our very person to our homes, businesses, communities, and governments. And because of the interfering nature of technology, the data it produces and carries has burrowed into our lives in ways that we now take for granted.

Business needs to start thinking now about how to work on the fear and distrust that is all over the marketplace.

Consumers who have been unknowingly willing to lend their data, today are more aware; And are scared to give away their personal space. It will take for the government and business to safeguard data and hand control back to them - the customer.

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