The rate at which internet technology is evolving is very high and now internet experts are concerned what will become of privacy when everything goes online. By everything we mean the house lock to the door bell right to the toilet bowl and everything else that people use on a daily basis.
Science fiction? Well, turns out the stuff of sci-fi movies is coming to be. The internet as we know it is about to change, and the changes will be so massive, we might not even realize how much things have changed.
According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, the internet will soon become invisible to us. He was quoted saying “The internet will disappear,” at a World Economic Forum in Davos. There will be so much inter connectivity between devices that we will grow used to the convenience and take no particular note of the mechanism behind the whole operation. To envision how it will be like, one can think of driving a car. The driver is not necessarily aware of the pistons moving and the fuel burning; it happens in the background. The internet will be more or less like that; happening in the background making life convenient.
What Eric was referring to by saying that devices will be interconnected in what is called the internet of things. The internet of things is concerned with connecting the devices using sensors and the internet to make everyday life simple and intuitive in that the devices can do what needs to be done without too much effort from the owners or users.
The problem with this convenience is that the things need to understand the person in order to be useful to him or her. This means that in order for the radio for example to play the owners favorite music when he steps into a room, the radio will have to be told what the owner likes to listen to. Now, for the cooker to warm the meal when the owner comes home, it will have to be told at what time the owner comes home. This information will be online, and that makes it open to hacking. When a person’s whole life is online, the person is exposed to too many risks online. These include identity theft and exploitation of the information by data miners for the purpose of selling to internet marketers.
The other danger posed by the internet of devices is that the person can easily be traced wherever he or she may be. As long as one has a device with an IP on him or her, then he or she cannot disappear. The devices that belong to a person will at some point be so specific, the person will have a digital persona that’s recognizable by anyone. Then, there will be no privacy to speak of.
The biggest danger with the loss of privacy when the internet of things comes along is that he people are the ones voluntarily giving away their information. The fact that many people do not fully understand how dangerous that is is even more unnerving.
Top/Featured Image: By Tom Murphy / Wikipedia (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gagged_by_Privacy.JPG)