The Downside of the Internet of Things: They Tell on You

By Alexis C. Madrigal

We sometimes love the idea of having all of our stuff connected to the Internet. Oh, you left the lights on right before a long trip? Pull out your phone and switch them off. Magic! But Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb reports on the darker possibilities of the Internet of things, namely, that if you can talk to your stuff, your stuff can blab to other people, too.

The implications of these data-collecting, tattletaling objects and their use by government cannot be overlooked. It begins with spying on your trash, but what's next? Parking meters that know you snagged a few extra minutes because no one was around to write a ticket? Oh wait, that already exists. Vibration sensors that report when illegals cross the border? Hmm, that was done too. Biometric passports? We're already there. Digital billboards that can be used for surveillance? Yikes. Trees that report back when poached? Done. A plan to coat the planet in billions of sensors that can monitor traffic, analyze climate change, oh, and recognize people, too? In progress.

By themselves, none of these current use-cases alone are a major affront to personal freedom (in this author's opinion, that is). But there are many privacy advocates out there who find measures like these egregious violations of of our civil liberties.

Read the full story at ReadWriteWeb.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/09/the-downside-of-the-internet-of-things-they-tell-on-you/62641/