The Question of Privacy in the Smart-Tech Life

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Smart-technology, wearable or otherwise, is undoubtedly a luxurious convenience. With products ranging from Fitbit for keeping track of your health to voice-activated vehicle consoles to home improvement and more, the market for this tech is seemingly limitless.

So how does this compromise your privacy?

Josh Lifton, CEO of Crowd Supply, said in a TechRepublic article: “…we’re entering this world where everything is catalogued and everything is documented and companies and governments will be making decisions about you as an individual based on your data trail…”

The European Union answered this question by issuing the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which bolsters the rights of individual data privacy, ensuring people have the right to know how, when, and where their personal information is used.

While it might not always be a bad thing for organizations to collect information about you, it’s important that those details don’t fall into the wrong hands.

The main concern among security experts when it comes to smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home is the degree to which they’re listening. Obviously, they are listening for the voice-activated commands the user might say. But if you own Alexa and have ever had it interrupt you when you weren’t intentionally speaking to it, you might wonder about what else it’s listening to?

Recently, an array of Bluetooth flaws that affect Android, iOS, and Windows devices were discovered in millions of AI voice-activated assistants, including both the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Blueborne Exploit is the name that has been given to the attack that takes advantage of these vulnerabilities, allowing external entities to run malicious code, steal information, and otherwise assume control. What is more threatening about this is that it does not require targets to click any links or fall for any other phishing scams; it can just assume control. Moreso, once an attack seizes one bluetooth device on a network, they can infect any other devices on the same network.

While both companies have since released patches and issued automatic updates for their products, it certainly serves as a cautionary tale to be mindful of what you say and do around these devices.

Wearable smart watches like Fitbit and jogging apps on smartphones run into their own security issues, which readers may have observed recently in the news, after a heat map of jogging and cycling routes released by Strava identified dangerous details of US soldier in war zones in the Middle East.

Overall, as much as it can be a minor inconvenience to do so, it is important that users don’t blindly press ‘accept’ on privacy terms for these apps and gadgets, and instead take the time to review how their information is collected and used. Such insight could lead to foresight that would ensure turning the relevant devices off in situations where that is appropriate.

This article was written by Kristina Weber, Content Supervisor of Centry. For more content like this, follow @CentryLTD on Twitter!

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