The era of the Internet of Things (IoT) is upon us. Everything is being connected via the internet to everything else. It is very convenient for your house to know where you are and what your intentions are because then it can prepare for your arrivals, departures and your family and friends’ arrivals, departures and special desires and needs.
If you have a friend arriving for dinner at 7 PM and you will be home at 5:30 your home could draw a bath, set the temperature to 98° F., and set the room temperature to your known favorite a half hour before you arrive so it would be totally stabilized. It could set your favorite getting-home music playing, and set in the playlist some appropriate music for the arrival of your guest. Your refrigerator could begin thawing the frozen items you want for your fancy dinner, and pre-heat everything … We could go on endlessly with the nice things that are routinely done by a servant.
The flip side of all that wonderful convenience is that the IoT can be hacked by anyone who knows how and used to spy on your every move. Those kinds of intrusion will no doubt be countered by complex two-way personal code authentications, but those will soon be compromised. The point is that our personal privacy is largely gone already and will soon be totally compromised.
What can we do to maintain our independence from the IoT and our privacy? Maybe we can voluntarily drop back to a 1940s style of living where everything is still mechanical and TV is barely existing. Back then spying was done by humans, and even audio recording required a special rotating disk with a needle cutting into a plastic disk to make a home recording. Nowadays, we can see people walking around with their cell phones in their breast pocket and the video eye looking out. Even if the owner thinks it is turned off there are apparently ways for hackers to turn it on remotely and then look and listen to what that person totally unknown to you is seeing and hearing. Speakers and microphones are everywhere and will be connected to the IoT, and they can be used for listening to us.
One could get totally into paranoid thinking about these things but that probably won’t help with one’s privacy. Or one can totally drop out and go live in a remote desert or a desert island on a remote island. Those choices will probably work if you totally avoid any electricity like lawyer Chuck in ‘Better Call Saul’, and never go outside where spy satellites and infrared cameras can track you at night.
Probably the best option for connecting to the IoT is to just participate and connect up to a level that works best for you, pay for the available security protocols and maintain backups on all the critical stuff. Who knows what the most critical needs will be, but buying a thirty-day emergency backup food supply and an off-line five-gallon water tank doesn’t cost much and might save a lot of personal suffering.
Being on the growing edge of technology is great, but it makes sense to have a low-tech backup.