Our devices are getting smarter, the nest thermostat saves you money by adjusting the tempature of your home in a more intelligent way. Other devices like fitness accessories, smart watches, and even smart refrigerators are increasing in number all with the promise of making life better and more streamlined. I for one look forward to taking advantage of the benefits such technology can bring us. But, I worry about one thing. Will the data about me be safe? Think of your thermostat, fridge or any other device, they may not track all of your life (though smart phones and smart watches are doing so more and more). However, these simpler devices provide a particular view into your life. A smart refrigerator may know of food allergies and when you are going to the market. A smart thermostat knows when you are home, expected to be home, or on your way home. But is the data collected about your life safe? Who can access the data as it goes across the airwaves or wires to the central server? Who can monitor when you will be home? Who can find out how you eat and what you may be allergic to?
Smart devices are here to say and again I am happy for them but, how are we securing the data on the devices and as it is transmitted to the central server or your smart phone? Are our current data hiding and encryption techniques enough? Are the tried and tired encryption algorithms enought to protect us from over bearing governments or tech savy criminals? The revelations of the collection of cell phone and internet traffic records that were collected by governments across the globe tells us we are not safe from our personal data being collected.
What must be done is twofold, first, new methods of data encryption must be created, not beholden to any government. Second, people must stand up for their personal data, both its portability and security, forcing corporations and governments to abide by a data bill of rights. It is incumbant then upon developers to help this come to pass by not relying on old methods of encryption but seek out new ways to encrypt and secure people's personal data.