Is Law Catching Up Fast Enough with IoT Integration in the Home?

Two-thirds of the population will have Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their homes by 2019, leading to a tightening of regulations to ensure these devices don’t infringe on basic human rights. Number one on the list is the right to privacy which seems to be a grey area for both consumers and manufacturers. While safety is a top concern where access to information is concerned, just how far can the technology go before those rights are infringed on, if not already the case?

Information Corporations Have Access To

It’s not just the fact that the IoT setup at home is a soft target for any hacker that happens to target a certain household, but the potential leakage of information is something consumers should always be aware of. The inter-connectivity of the devices means that some information, if not all, gets stored in the cloud to be accessed and referenced at a later stage. While this is great news for those who wish to improve the efficiency of their homes, it also happens to be a lucrative source of information for marketing purposes. To have a clearer understanding of the extent of information corporations have access to through a home IoT setup, look at the following:

  • Smart Fridges: Although this may seem like an innocent addition to the IoT setup, it keeps information such as the types of foods stored in it, as well as expiration dates. This may not seem like an infringement of privacy, but when medication for sensitive conditions need to be stored in the fridge, consumers would not want every marketing company and corporation to know about it.
  • Virtual Assistants: Google Home and Amazon Echo are great for background music, finding out random information, and controlling certain aspects of the home setup. What is not known is exactly how much the device listens to and whether they record or store in any way regular conversations the inhabitants have.
  • Home Security Systems: Perhaps the scariest of all is an outsider gaining access to a home security system. Not only will they be aware of passwords and codes for entry, but will also have access to CCTV cameras and more. Electronic gates and door locks can also be controlled if hacked.

When Comfort Becomes A Gateway

There are a number of reasons why people would want to add smart technology to their homes and have everything controlled from a central point. For instance, those who have mobility issues will want extra help when the temperature drops in the evenings. They can control everything from shutting the doors to remotely controlling the thermostat from a smart device or tablet. Security experts warn, however, that a poorly protected home Wi-Fi setup can allow them to gain easy access to the network through something simple like a smart thermostat. This is because serious security measures aren’t usually applied to the thermostat or other similar appliances.

The Writing Is On The Wall

With the help of legal intervention, the technology will be more closely regulated in order to protect its users. A continuous look at the post-installation effects will be at the forefront of government’s agenda in order to ensure that the interests of the clients are always taken into account. A few updates and tweaks to regulations may need to be done as the effects of this disruptive technology is felt with each new addition to the cloud. Some of the regulations that will directly affect IoT in the home, include:

  • GDPR: Consumers will need to know exactly what information is used and stored. The IoT is hooked up to the cloud where information is stored and processed in order to make the home more efficient. This information may also be accessed by others linked to the cloud, which will need to be disclosed to the consumer.
  • E-Privacy Regulation: This act comes into effect specifically to respect private life and protect personal data. This act is said to come into effect in 2019, but the exact date is still unclear. This will have a direct impact on IoT devices that store personal information such as video footage from home camera devices, and more.

Smart technology’s integration with IoT is a fascinating and exciting step for consumers across the globe as the technology still seemed far-off and something from a science fiction film. But the technology is here and whether regulation is fast enough to keep up with it, remains to be seen.

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