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Is the Chief IoT Barrier Privacy?

Is the Chief IoT Barrier Privacy?
by Daniel Nenni on 05-11-2014 at 9:00 am

The World Affairs Council event, The Internet of Things: Global Implications of Merging the Physical and Digital Worlds, was hosted by Cadence last week. One thing I can tell you is that Cadence sure does know how to throw a party! They had me at free food and beer but the topic was also of great interest since my next project will involve IoT, absolutely.

More than nine billion devices around the world are currently connected to the Internet, including computers and smartphones. That number is expected to increase dramatically within the next decade, with estimates ranging from quintupling to 50 billion devices to reaching one trillion. Please join us for a discussion of how the Internet of Things will impact the way we live, the way business is done and how resources are consumed. Important to the discussion will be the challenges ahead when merging the physical and digital worlds and the implications for privacy and security around the world.

The content speakers were from eBay, ARM, and Cisco. There was also a lawyer from GE and the moderator was the Director of Privacy, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School. After introductions and brief statements there was a Q&A which focused primarily on privacy and big data. There were several professional journalists attending so I will leave the reporting to them and share my personal thoughts here.

Generally I sit at the back so I can see what other people are doing. I’m a fan of sociology and feel there is a lot to learn by observing behavior at these events. Content and interaction is always important but lately I look at the age of people and how they use mobile devices. In that regard this event was a treasure trove of information.

Looking at the audience of 100 or so semiconductor professionals I saw one laptop open, a handful of tablets, and the rest were smartphones. In the one hour session just about EVERBODY checked their phone at least once with quite a few people on them throughout the session including the guy next to me typing furiously on his Blackberry. Several phones rang during the conference and some people answered while walking out to finish what must have been an important conversation. That is the “always-on culture”, absolutely. My guess at the average age of the audience is 50ish so I’m just above average.

Internet privacy discussions don’t really interest me. We gave up our privacy when the internet came into our homes so who are we kidding here? I remember when E-commerce first started, enlightened people jumped on board with full force while others hid their ignorance behind security and privacy issues. “It’s not safe to put your credit cards on the internet.” they said. “It’s safer than giving your credit card to a complete stranger at a diner.” I said. I remember picking up cordless phone conversations on our baby monitor. Do they even sell phones with cords anymore?

In 1999, Sun Microsystems’ then-CEO Scott McNealy infamously declared, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

In 2009 Googles’ then CEO Eric Schmidt infamously declared,“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

If you want privacy stay off of the internet, simple as that. And don’t leave the house because there are cameras everywhere recording your every move. Don’t drive a late model car either or use a wireless router or anything bluetooth. In watching my four kids (who are now adults) communicate, privacy is not an issue as they are part of the always-on-oversharing-generation.

Bottom line: Privacy is an old person problem, one that will negatively affect your quality of life so get over it. Definitely be “privacy aware” but keep the paranoia to a minimum and enjoy the technology that is changing the world, just my opinion of course.

In regards to the Internet of Things or Internet Everywhere or Internet in our Underwear there is no stopping it so you might as well monetize it and enjoy the ride. How about this, let’s make the amount of data available from IoT so BIG that it is impossible to do anything with it. That’s our only hope for privacy.

The next live seminar that has caught my interest is “Strategies for Next Generation Semiconductor IP Management” at the Computer Museum in Mountain View, CA. They had me at Computer Museum, I love that place!

Disclaimer: SemiWiki is NOT a gossip website for hire. SemiWiki is an open forum (crowdsourcing) for semiconductor professionals. If you would like to post your experience from a conference or if you would like someone from SemiWiki to cover your event please let us know.

More Articles by Daniel Nenni…..

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