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The Internet of Things (IoT) is invading at a rapid pace, with even more Things being deployed, but privacy and security legalities remain confusing. Consumers are concerned of how collected data is stored and used, and users are also wary of the government creating IoT legal expectations.
Privacy advocates want companies to be transparent when discussing what information is collected - and give owners the chance to control how much data is collected. However, if there are no laws to control data collection, then there is nothing to force companies to be forthcoming.
"Under most circumstances, information that many people may consider very personal or sensitive legally can be collected, shared and used for marketing purposes," according to US Government Accountability Office. "This can include information about an individual's physical and mental health, income and assets, mobile telephone numbers, shopping habits, personal interests, political affiliations and sexual habits and orientation."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has big goals for his company's Internet.org campaign, designed to bring affordable, reliable Internet access to people across the world. Ideally, the organization will be able to shorten the technological gap of citizens, especially in developing nations where there are plenty of mobile users - but unreliable Internet access.
Zuckerberg launched Internet.org in 2013 and Facebook has largely worked behind-the-scenes with Samsung, Qualcomm, Ericsson and other corporate partners. A free mobile app has been released in a number of nations, giving users access to Facebook, Google Search, AccuWeather - creating opportunities for first-time users to benefit from connected services.
"Yeah, our team is in contact with them frequently, and I talk to a number of folks over there," said Zuckerberg, in an interview on Studio 1.0 on Bloomberg Television. "When we launched in Zambia, Google was actually one of the services that was in the Internet.org suite, and that's valuable. In addition to health services and education, jobs and different government services and communication tools, people need to be able to search and find information. And whether we work with Google or others on that in all of these other countries, I think that is an important thing. I'd love to work with Google. They are a great search product."
Well, my 100/40Mbps fiber connection has just become quite slow compared to what researchers over at the University of Oxford have been playing around with. These researchers have reached a new milestone in networking technology by reaching bi-directional speeds of 224 gigabits per second (Gbps) using light fidelity (Li-Fi).
Considering 100Gbps fiber optic core networks have only just come into play, achieving 224Gbps over an LED light bulb is simply amazing. This connection would be capable of downloading a gigantic 27GB/sec, capable of blowing through terabytes of data in seconds. This new technology is being worked on as a possible alternative to Wi-Fi, as Li-Fi uses the visible light spectrum to transfer data. When mixed with a high-speed fiber Internet connection, researchers believe that we could see speeds far higher than anything Wi-Fi has on offer.
This means that the future of Internet connectivity could be delivered through light, which doesn't pass through walls, to most areas. We could have light bulbs providing super-fast Internet connectivity, with one of the pioneers behind Li-Fi, Harold Haas, stating that the future of every LED lightbulb could be used as an ultra-fast alternative to Wi-Fi. During a TED Talk, Haas said about Li-Fi: "We have the infrastructure there. We can use them for communications. All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission. In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fi's deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even a brighter future".
The Internet of Things (IoT) has great potential to be a truly disruptive infrastructure, with expectations of 20+ billion "Things" just around the corner. Consumers will enjoy smart technologies in their homes and in the workplace, opening up a large number of potential vulnerabilities that cybercriminals will exploit.
There is a mix of privacy and security concerns related to IoT products that must be addressed by manufacturers. Consumers were outraged when Samsung confirmed its smart HDTVs had the capability to listen in using the TV's built-in voice command features.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts are worried about hackers able to target smart technologies - especially newer products in which security may not have been a priority - that will complicate things long-term. IoT product vendors must keep in mind that consumers will be reckless with security, and it cannot be an optional feature.
David Cameron has announced that the UK government will pledge £50 million (or $77 million or so) into seeing free Wi-Fi on-board UK trains by 2017. The UK Prime Minister hasn't elaborated much on this plan, not stating whether this would be a large number of trains, or all of them.
There are rumors that the rail companies are paying for it now, and that the government would just be hanging them money to effectively have 'free Wi-Fi' on the trains, but we don't know that for sure just yet. Free Wi-Fi is currently offered on long distance, intercity services, but this should expand those services considerably.
Why can't the UK government just provide everyone using trains with that super-fast 5G Internet access Prime Minister Cameron teased about last year?
Cisco hopes to work its way into being the No. 1 IT and networking company in the booming Internet of Things (IoT) market, understanding that there is great potential looking ahead.
IoT-powered products are expected to enter households and offices at a rapid pace over the next few years, so Cisco wants to create partnerships and be in place to help other companies create their own products.
"It is the most fundamental change," said John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. "You'd almost call it the second generation of the Internet. We're back in vogue. It's like the 1990s all over again."
Intel isn't sure what will happen with the booming Internet of Things (IoT) market, but the Silicon Valley company wants to make sure it is involved.
During CES last month, Intel unveiled the Curie chip designed for wearables and other connected technologies - which it hopes will be introduced in a variety of different future products. Intel predicts there will more than 800 million Web-connected homes over the next three years, and that number will only grow higher.
"What we see in that segment of the market, the Internet of Things, there's lots of innovation going on," said Stacy Smith, CFO of Intel, in a statement to CNET. "If anybody tells you they know who's going to be the winner three years from now, they're making it up, because nobody knows."
Security systems connected to the Internet of things (IoT) could create an unexpected back door that puts owners at risk, according to a new security report from Hewlett-Packard. Specifically, brute-force attacks can be especially helpful in breaking through security, with manufacturers neglecting to use lockout procedures after failed repeated login attempts.
In addition, there were security vulnerabilities found in user interfaces on mobile, desktop and cloud platforms utilized by home owners. HP didn't disclose which vendors it used in its IoT security system study, but this appears to be a major problem that must be addressed.
"The results were pretty startling," said Daniel Miessler, practice principal at HP Fortify, in a statement to eWeek. "The big finding was that 10 out of 10 systems could be brute-forced to extract usernames and passwords via the Internet."
At least 40 percent of organizations understand the Internet of Things (IoT) has great potential over the next three years, with 60 percent even more optimistic for longer-term adoption, according to a report from the Gartner research group.
To help embrace connected technology, companies must work to ensure they have employees trained - and prepared - for a growing number of connected technologies, which will be used in the workplace and by customers.
"Only a small minority have deployed solutions in a production environment," said Nick Jones, VP and distinguished analyst of the Gartner research group. "However, the falling costs of networking and processing mean that there are few economic inhibitors to adding sensing and communications to products costing as little as a few tens of dollars. The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products 'smart' and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems."
There are plenty of opportunities for consumers and companies embracing the Internet of Things (IoT), but trying to secure connected things will be extremely difficult. Vendors must embrace continuous testing programs to verify their services are secure - and consumers will need to utilize available security protocols, while pushing for new securities in the future.
Regardless of potential privacy and security concerns, expect to see a number of new connected things in the coming years - with everything from smart energy meters to security, lighting and air conditioning expected to be connected. There will be over 28 billion things installed in households and apartments by 2020, according to IDC.
"IoT is a very fast moving space, and the pressure on companies to get new things to market almost invariably comes at the expense of proper security practices," said Casey Ellix, CEO of Bugcrowd cybersecurity firm, in a statement published by Forbes. "On top of this, many of the devices are built on top of open source libraries and components, which themselves have vulnerabilities which are discovered on a regular basis."