SMART Devices and Us

Sadeepa Diluk
Sep 29, 2017 · 6 min read

“Are you aware about these ethical issues of SMART Devices?”

SMART devices, Internet of things (IOT), Smart Homes these are the most common phrases that we heard about when we are talking about technology. Actually, what are these so called smart devices?

According to Wikipedia the definition is smart device is

“An electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.”

And the definition of the Internet of things’ (IoT) is

“The network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity to enable it to achieve greater value and service by exchanging data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices.”

So actually what are these…

simply, the devices that we use to make our day to day works more easy and quick. Smart device application begins from your phone, digital camera, wrist watch to devices like television, fridge, Thermostat, door lock and gadgets like a tire pressure checker, ring and much more.

Why the smart devices become a huge impact on our life? And how it become a trend?

For last 5 years we have seen the device we used to continually change the way we interact with others. 5 years ago phones were used only to communicate with others, wrist watches to check the time, computers were used to do office works, play games and surf internet and TV ‘s were used to watch movies and tele drama.

But now can we use any individual device mention above to do the combination of everything and beyond with just a touch of our fingertip or voice command.

These smart devices can do things beyond the above, it can do health monitoring, give driving directions, people tracking etc. Apart from smart home devices most of the smart devices can use as a wearable. You can wear them in your eyes, wrist, ankle etc. Addition to make our work easy owning a smart device considers as a symbol of status. This encourages the users to buy these products.

As an example, let’s take the smart phone industry

With the graph you can see how rapidly the smart phone market went up within 15 years. Same about the other smart products

With the development of technology the ethical issues arise from them are developing in a same speed.

For example, later in 2013 Google was accused for tracking its users traveling movements without the knowledge or the permission of the user.

You don’t believe me right ?

check your self by clicking this link to Google Maps Timeline.

Location is one of the sensitive information about everyone’s life. To work with the smart device we must connect our device via some kind of wireless connection. To do that we must connect our device to a Wi-Fi access point or other wireless enable device. Through this anyone can track your current position, where do you visit most frequently even where do you sleep at night because most users keeps the mobile phone near to them even at night and it’s a great treat to the privacy of the user. It should not be a surprise for the users, hence the company already know the name, age, your interests and how many times you searched for a particular topic.

Even though Google said that they keep track of the users for advertising purposes, but media look at this at a different angle. They say “NSA privacy invasion is bad, but nothing compared to Google.”

Do you know how much is your personal data worth to other parties?

According to the study done by the Ponemon Institute, LLC in March 2015 these are the price of your private data in U.S. Dollars.

Do you have any idea is your personal data worth this much? How these data worth so much? For example your health condition can be used by privet hospitals to promote you their health plans and medical checkups, your location can be used to locational advertising. And you understand how much your online bank login details are worth right.

Another recent incident is that the technological giant Samsung understand that their most popular smart TV’s can be used to listen privet conversation and can share this information with third parties using its voice recognition feature.

“Samsung is warning customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set.”- BBC

It’s easy to control your smart TV with voice command, but the problem is user might not be aware of who else listening to their conversation.

Thou the TV could capture and understand a limited amount of words the privacy terms and condition of Samsung’s state that

“We collect, use, share, and store information through your Smart TV in the ways described in the Samsung Privacy Policy.”

And

“To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.)…”

~www.samsung.com/uk/info/privacy-SmartTV.html

Now we are living in an era where we can’t trust our TV anymore

And with the so called innovative, next generation smart devices like iPhoneX and Samsung galaxy s8 we are willingly give away our finger print, voice identification and facial recognition features, the most crucial bio-metric authentication characteristics for free…

Another incident recorded was in 2012 a 17 years old Chinese boy sell his kidney for £ 2,000 to buy an iPhone and iPad and in 2015 two Chinese men tried to sell their kidney to buy iPhone 6s. Is it a smart device worth more than your kidney or life? Reason for this is with the benefits given by the smart devices the prices of them are in a range of normal people can’t afford. So they have to earn money somehow. For an example apple watch pieces starts from 350$ to 10,000$. And the thing we can from the device and user-friendliness become more and more advanced with the price.

With the help of smart devices our day to day life works has become a lot easier than what we imagined about 5 years ago. Also the security threats and ethical issues have developed beyond our imagination. The above examples are the ones that have already identified. What about the ones that haven’t identified yet???

Since the smart devices become an important part of our life the security of the information and private life of the owner become more and more venerable hence the owner is unaware how their device transmit data, their location and who are gathering them and using them.

Why we should concern about our security of privacy?

A study done by Ponemon Institute, LLC in March 2015 shows that why users must concern about their life. They gathered a group of smart device users of 885 and gathered these information about why their concerns about their privacy.

At the conclusion to this article i hope to show how world think about the development of smart devices and how they become a part of our day to day life, how users understand the impact done by these to their security and privacy.

While personal data on smart devices and it shows you they are secured, the privacy still matters. More than 50% of the survey say that they are not satisfied about their information security this will be one of the most destructive technologies in near future.

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