Have you heard about the Internet of Things (IoT)? In short the IoT is about connecting devices to the Internet so they can talk to us, applications and other devices. It’s not a new concept. The conversation around these types of connected devices is as old as the Internet.
But what if the very tech you installed in your home -- a connected baby monitor or automated lighting or smart refrigerator could be accessed without your knowledge? I am not referring to a hacker; although that is another conversation completely.
I am talking about a company or a government agency accessing your Internet-connected anything.
A few months ago I received an advertisement from Con Edison of New York.
ConEd wrote a beautifully worded copy on why I must get their free Internet-connected thermostat. To be honest with you I was convinced — almost. As I continued to read, I realized that by accepting the free thermostat, I would be agreeing to allow ConEd to adjust my home's temperature during peak times.
The prospect that ConEd could arbitrarily remote into my thermostat and set the temperature based on their needs frightened me.
Yes, I understand the company would need a court order or, in this case, my express content but perhaps we need to begin thinking of a better system that allows others access to our smart appliances.
Perhaps something similar OAuth but for smart devices?
Should you be worried of misuse by a company or government agency? I don’t think so, but there must be a conversation had around security and ultimately who controls access.
At the end of the day, it’s your connected device and your data so having access control is your right.