I learned my first new buzz phrase of 2015: IoT aka the Internet of Things.
It refers to all those devices in your life that are now connected to the Internet which send and receive data, such as programs to monitor and set your thermostat remotely, baby monitors, or the new health/fitness tracking devices that track and record your exercise activities (aka Fitbit etc.)
A recent newsletter from Legal Shield discussed the privacy issues related to having these devices in our lives. Don’t think that “nobody cares about my information”; oh yes they do! Once hackers get into your system from any one Internet device, they can gain access to a ton of information on your entire connected network.
Don’t panic. In addition to telling you the risks, there is good advice on how to protect yourself. The article refers to a publication from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) which talks about some Privacy Habits you should be practicing with your Internet connected devices. Their article on Cool New Tech Devices: What Privacy Risks Are Wrapped Up Under Your Tree? informs you of the risks and things you can do to protect yourself in our gadget driven world like the new ones you got for Christmas. .
One of their points, which is something that I also learned on an episode of Shark Tank; “if you have an internet-connected device with a camera but you don’t need to use the camera to use the device, cover the camera lens with a piece of solid tape”, otherwise people can see into your world.
Per PRC, “Like most things, informed decision-making and responsible utilization are vital to beneficial use of an internet-connected device. If consumers take such steps, they will protect their privacy and avoid security lapses that could put their privacy and even their physical safety and identity at risk”.
Embrace the new technology but use it responsibly!