The Internet of Things and Personal Privacy in a Hyper-Connected World

Back to Customer Education

Every company has a product.  For home improvement stores, it’s building materials and tools.  Book stores sell books.  Coffee shops sell coffee.   PenTeleData’s product is the Internet.  Our partners’ products are phone, cable, Internet, and security systems.  All of these are pretty straight-forward.  What about Google, Facebook and other social media and content providers?  Their product is YOU!

Each of these companies collect and use your information, including browsing habits and any other details, to target your content.  Social media providers may offer networking opportunities, but in turn, you are sharing your viewing habits, contact lists, and more.  This can be filtered to determine what you should or should not see, including political opinion or articles promoted by advertisers who want access to you.  They can even use your information to sell your habits, views, shopping detail, etc. to others who can also use this information for profit.  In fact, all of this is even more possible with “Internet of Things” (IoT).

The IoT describes the relationships between the giant network of connected “things” and people.  The IoT is basically the connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet and/or to each other.  This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else imaginable, like machine components such as a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.  The IoT is here to stay.  Perhaps cars will have access to our calendars and already know the best route to take.  If traffic is heavy, it could switch your route and send a text message to the other parties involved with the meeting.  On a broader scale, IoT could be applied to transportation networks and smart cities with reduced energy consumption.  The ideas are endless.  We are, no doubt, living in an age of a digital lifestyle.  For individuals, that means we may want to be more cautious about how to protect our personal information.  Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Routinely Update all software (PC, phone, tablets, etc.)

  • Establish and maintain strong passwords

  • Secure privacy settings on all social networks

  • Lock down your home network

  • Think carefully about what you are posting/sharing online

  • Don’t use apps for tracking if you don’t want to share the information it requires

  • Check your privacy settings for all devices