To ensure that this new world, and our data, is safe for its citizens we need security and privacy that works with and for us. Products and services should collaborate for protection, and compete with everything else.

Rather than build proprietary, insecure, or invasive eco-systems, manufacturers and developers should establish robust interoperable systems, which can be federated where appropriate. Before we blindly blunder forwards, we should pause and ask a few questions, then proceed (with caution).

 

The questions

How can smart meters, part of a smart grid, be securely linked to and migrated between suppliers? Regulators, utility companies, and (lowest cost) manufacturers must agree on and implement the necessary standards.

Who can see your energy usage, which might indicate when you are at home, or the groceries ordered by your fridge, which might indicate your diet? A burglar or insurance company might be interested. Lack of privacy impacts security.

What data are you giving away to your supplier, be it a digital service or smart home? What control do you have over how your data is used? What backdoors or vulnerabilities might exist in these new technologies?

When is it too late to think about and implement security and privacy into the Internet of Things? IoT will become increasingly personal to us and these things cannot simply be a nice-to-have afterthought – they form part of the foundations.

Why do security and privacy matter? Why is it down to user choice, and their need to make informed decisions? Why should it be traded-off for features and convenience, when the responsible thing is to embed it in everything?

Yes, there are still more questions than answers, but if more people start asking questions then maybe will we start getting the answers the IoT needs to thrive.