Privacy & The Internet of Me
I recently attended an industry event where analysts from Gartner and Forrester discussed some of the key industry trends. They identified two major technology categories:
- Wearable Devices – anything from Google Glass to FitBit to RFID tagged clothing
- Data Analytics – in particular, those applications and services that present data in a fashion that can be easily consumed by the average business person or consumer – without the aid of a data scientist or analyst.
The next obvious question asked of the analysts was, “What about privacy?” In unison, both chimed in that it is the pivotal issue surrounding the success or failure of certain products, services and initiatives in this space. We agree.
Connected devices provide enormous information about each of us that can be used to help us get more exercise, loose weight, manage our household security, the location of our children and elder parents and even manage chronic diseases more effectively. This information, if not managed properly can lead to unwanted marketing messages, at best, and pricing or service access discrimination by unscrupulous organizations. Technologists talk about the opportunity of the Internet of Things (IoT). From a societal and business policy perspective, the discussion is really about the “Internet of Me” (IoM).
It becomes imperative that users have a choice about the control, use and flow of their personal data. It also becomes vital that companies who collect and/or use connected device data have clear and unambiguous policies and disclosures about data use. Remember – pie isn’t free at the truck stop. There is always a cost – obvious, or hidden. So before you choose a “free” service over a paid subscription, or finalize your connected device data business plans, take to the time to understand if and how all that “IoM” data will be used.