In our ever growing desire to make our lives more efficient and hassle free, we find ourselves turning more and more to technology to alleviate the bottleneck in our lives. As someone who works in the tech industry and genuinely enjoys new and breakthrough technology I am generally all for a more tech-based society. Often times, however, I think as a society we get so excited about new tech and their potential to make our lives easier we overlook the potential risks. If you have read any of my articles you will know that I have pressing concerns when it comes to privacy and security. This is one of the things we overlook. We are so excited about a new program, new phone or new smart device that we fail to ask important questions. It could be that as a society we are becoming numb to the potential risk or perhaps we need to be more proactive in our education – maybe a little bit of both.
Smart devices by their very nature present privacy and security issues because they log information that can be potentially accessed by others. Therefore, when we start talking about smart homes and smart security systems red flags go off in my head regarding the potential privacy and security risks. Smart homes and smart security systems are connected to your home network and can be potentially accessed and controlled remotely. A concerning statistic for me is that, while 92 percent of potential smart home consumers are concerned about privacy and security 89 percent say they would live or equip their home with smart devices without any real regard for their individual privacy.
Consider if you have camera’s, baby monitors, smart locks and alarms connected to your home network. They are designed in a manner that you can access these devices from your office or any other remote location you have access to the internet. But, hackers have already demonstrated that they can with relative ease breach these devices.
The separation between accessibility and conveniences, privacy and security are too large to ignore. What then can be done? The fault really lies with both the consumers of these products and the producers of these products.
As producers, they need to actively work on providing simple security solutions that alleviate the possibility of these devices being compromised. Now, let's just make something clear, with technology and smart devices, you can never be 100 percent protected. There is no such thing as an unhackable device. However, producers owe it to their customers to provide the most secure option as possible. I also get that by adding more complex security and authentication you could potentially remove some of the convenience, but when comes to convenience versus security (especially when it comes to our homes) then security should take precedent. I have read that wearable technology that can authenticate our identity through individual heart rate could act potential solution.
On the other hand, as consumers, we have a responsibility to ourselves to not only ask the questions about security and privacy that need to be asked but also, if these devices don’t meet a certain standard we have a responsibility to hold those companies accountable by simply not investing in their products. Eventually, they will get the hint and up their game.
Some security experts and people in the tech field might say that I am being overly cautious. The intention is for consumer awareness. Consumers should be aware of what they are buying and as with anything you buy, I strongly suggest that you do your research.