Tuesday, June 23, 2020

"IoT companies should tell users what information their devices are gathering and how they’re using it"

A related serious question. When you go visit someone who has all the audio and infrared and video devices, from the moment you arrive at the gate on up to the porte-cochère and then inside, should your host's protocol people tell your peeps what is being recorded? What's the etiquette here?

And from IEEE Spectrum, June 18:

The Internet of Things Has a Consent Problem
Consent has become a big topic in the wake of the Me Too movement. But consent isn’t just about sex. At its core, it’s about respect and meeting people where they are at. As we add connected devices to homes, offices, and public places, technologists need to think about consent.

Right now, we are building the tools of public, work, and home surveillance, and we’re not talking about consent before we implement those tools. Sensors used in workplaces and homes can track sound, temperature, occupancy, and motion to understand what a person is doing and what the surrounding environment is like. Plenty of devices have cameras and microphones that feed back into a cloud service.

In the cloud, images, conversations, and environmental cues could be accessed by hackers. Beyond that, simply by having a connected device, users give the manufacturer’s employees a clear window into their private lives. While I personally may not mind if Google knows my home temperature or independent contractors at Amazon can accidentally listen in on my conversations, others may.
For some, the issue with electronic surveillance is simply that they don’t want these records created. For others, getting picked up by a doorbell camera might represent a threat to their well-being, given the U.S. government’s increased use of facial recognition and attempts to gather large swaths of electronic data using broad warrants.

How should companies think about IoT consent? Transparency is important—any company selling a connected device should be up-front about its capabilities and about what happens to the device data. Informing the user is the first step....

Related at IEEE Spectrum:
Tracking COVID-19 With the IoT May Put Your Privacy at Risk