Imagine if your GPS could guide you to the nearest empty parking space, how cool would that be?
What if you got a text from your fridge as you drive to the supermarket telling you to get milk? Slightly less cool? I mean still pretty helpful though.
What if as you walked down the street to get some lunch your watch told you there’s a sale on at a shoe shop across the street, kind of seems like really intrusive advertising doesn’t it?
Welcome to the internet of things, a development of the internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, and are all constantly communicating with each other. The applications of such technology are virtually endless, with the examples I mentioned before ranging from convenience boosting, to life saving, and right back down to advertising.
Some of the uses of the internet of things are undeniably amazing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its downside. I’m not talking about malfunctions leaving us to fend for ourselves without the technology we’ve become so dependent on, I pretty much did that last week….
I’m talking about the privacy concerns that accompany the irrefutably impressive possibilities of the Internet of Things. We’ve already reached a point in time where ads are being targeted to us based on our internet browsing. This can be beneficial to everyone, as marketers can effectively target their market, and consumers are only exposed to ads that have some relevance to them, but it can also taken too far, like when Target tipped off a man about his teenage daughters pregnancy through targeted coupons.
So if targeted marketing can already cause privacy concerns due to shopping and internet behaviours, imagine the possibilities for infringement when our glasses, watches, televisions and fridges are all able to aid in data mining.
Privacy concerns are possibly the largest issue surrounding the Internet of Things, and it’s an important concern. If the Internet of Things progresses to a level where essentially all of daily tasks can be monitored by these wirelessly connected devices, then all our movements, all our activities and behaviours will be recorded, stored, and used by third parties. This could have some benefits, but it’s still a little scary to think about. So as we go down this path towards interconnectivity between essentially everything, just remember it all comes at a cost, and that cost might just be your privacy.