The Internet of Things (or IoT) can be defined as all the physical objects that are connected, each with their own digital numerical identification (an IP address for example), and able to communicate with each other.
This communication network between things and people provides many advantages for users, like the simplification of certain daily tasks. However, it almost inevitably involves gathering personal information.
Find out how the Internet of Things is part of your daily life, and how you can keep your personal information safe from fraudsters.
The biggest impacts on your daily life
Over the past few years, the Internet of Things has grown enormously. Most household appliances, integrated into our day-to-day lives, are now equipped with sensors and connected to the internet. For example, GPS locating lets you to find services near you, or to find a location and show you the route to take. There are also thermostats and lighting systems that can be operated remotely, using an app.
In the health field as well, the Internet of Things can capture your movements and your heart rate with smart watches, but also take your body temperature or your blood sugar, a major advantage for people with diabetes.
The internet is coming to more and more objects in our everyday lives. Some cars can alert you to certain dangers and recommend solutions. The Internet of Things can even go with you to the beach: a smart bathing suit can tell you when it’s time to reapply sunscreen!
The advantages and the risk of piracy
All of the connected objects around you accumulate a significant amount of data, which is stored in cloud services. The advantage of this is that companies can provide services that are better adapted to your needs. However, this comes with certain risks, because there is always the possibility that a hacker could get access to this data, or even take control of the object remotely.
A lot can be learned about you just with the data that is gathered. It reveals where you go, your daily routines, your physical condition, and other aspects of your health.
The companies that gather, use or transfer your information have a legal obligation to protect it. They have to prove that they have adopted appropriate security measures. They also have to explain what they will do with your information and must get your consent.
How to keep your information safe
To maximize your data security, there are certain habits you should adopt. For example, always read the confidentiality policies for the apps or connected objects you use so you know how the companies you’re dealing with are using your personal information. Also, make sure your accounts and objects are secure by using strong passwords and always using secure internet connections.
Finally, the website for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can help you understand privacy issues and personal information. In the United States, the website identitytheft.gov and the State Consumer Protection Offices are there to help victims of fraud.
Want to learn more about how to navigate the internet safely? See our tips on how to stay safe from cybercriminals.