While many people owning internet-connected products assume that they are the only ones who have access to the information being transmitted, a new search engine called Shodan has exposed this to be completely false. Anyone visiting Shodan can search and view the video being transmitted by many different kinds of insecure internet-connected devices. Among the things you can watch are bank security cameras, sleeping children, and people in swimming pools. Again, most users have no idea this information is publicly available.
As corporations seek new hooks to sell products, they are putting your private information online with little security.
Part of the problem is that many corporations falsely assume people do not care about privacy anymore because millennials share so much of their daily lives. However, new studies show that millennials are not as open as many thought and are actually very careful about what they share and who they share with.
The other part that is missing from this evolving “Internet of Things” industry is democratic government regulation. Neoliberal governments have long abdicated regulation to the free market (usually to the lowest bidder) as companies complain that meeting democratically and scientifically determined standards lowers profit margins. However, the clear market failure exposed by Shodan (the least insidious of those that exploit security lapses) must be addressed with regulation, transparency, and education to ensure that the privacy of personal data is maintained.
The default for those operating in this industry must be privacy and security to protect that privacy. It is the only way consumers can choose what they want to share, with whom, and when.