#CyberFLASH: Privacy and the Internet of Things: Practical or paranoia?


The promise of connected homes, cars, wearables and every day conveniences is growing rapidly. Established companies like Cisco Systems Inc., Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications have a great deal to gain as the Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine to Machine (M2M) industry matures. Startup businesses such as FlyBits, Architech and ArrayEnt have thrown in their chips to stake their claim on the IoT industry.

Some of these companies have partnered with household name manufacturers. Together, they have products in the market, and others planned to connect the internet to a broad spectrum of Things, including:

  • Appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and dishwashers
  • Garage door openers, parking meters and gas pumps
  • Children’s toys – Barbie has a LinkedIn profile, where does it go from there?
  • Commercial building security, electrical systems and manufacturing systems
  • Cars, clothing, watches, pet feeders and fitness bands
  • Several other industrial, mining, and natural resources monitoring systems

Considering the sensitivity of the data which travels from the “Things” across the Internet, many experts and consumers are expressing concern about privacy and security related to the IoT. It may not seem a big deal to let a retailer know that you have beer and wine in your fridge along with your eggs and milk, but how might this information be used if it gets into the wrong hands?

When information related to where you drive your car, the speed you drove there, and who was in the car with you can be transmitted by your vehicle, your privacy can be compromised.

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