Security is always an issue when it comes to the IoT, but what about privacy? With so many devices listening in like the Amazon Echo, what exactly is being done to make sure the things you say aren’t being recorded or listened to by someone? The device IS connected to the internet after all, and we all know that hackers can target anything these days.
Well, the truth is that some devices that listen in actually do record what you’re saying. They share these recordings right to the cloud, too. Some of these recordings are because of laws or company policies requiring certain employee-client interactions to be recorded. Others might be for real-time language translations to someone in a different country. Whatever the reason, you should make sure you know what your device is and isn’t sending. A good word of warning is to never give sensitive information out, such as credit card numbers, when using such a device.
So what’s being done about this on the larger scale? Honestly, not a whole lot just yet. These devices have sprung up very fast and regulations haven’t had much time to develop. Questions must be asked though. Should employers be allowed to monitor each and every employee interaction in the workplace? Or perhaps they should be given a certain degree of privacy. But where does that privacy start and end? On another line, should those same employers be allowed to sell these conversations to research firms?
These sorts of questions are difficult to answer, both ethically and legally. Where does one draw the line and what do the answers mean to legality in court? Certainly, if one did wrong and bragged about it or threatened someone in work, it should be admissible, correct? But then at the same time, what if they were only blowing off steam or even joking around and were actually innocent.
With projections saying that hearables will be somewhere around the £4 billion area by 2020, avoiding them may be near impossible, anyway. For a brief look at what the future of this industry might be, check out this device called “The Aware”, meant to be a headphone with brain and biometric scanning.
The fact is that this technology is already here and has been for a while. Right now, regulations are few and far between. I would expect them to start becoming more commonplace on devices that listen soon, though. Until then, I suggest you err on the side of caution before buying a hearable device. You never know what rule or regulation might start cropping up now that the IoT is becoming more and more real each day.