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This article is written by Divya Dwivedi who is pursuing a Diploma in Cyber Law, FinTech Regulations and Technology Contracts from LawSikho.

To use or Not to use IoT

Life changing events are taking place, especially in 2020, which can be the greatest learning experience for the human race. We have been confined to our houses; even if one goes out, they are scared because no one knows who can be the carrier of the virus. But during these pandemic times we also really feel comfortable with the things that have made our lives easier, one of them being things connected to the internet with which one can get their work done in a click. However, as is true for everything, this also comes at a cost, which is our privacy. The more we get hooked to the internet and appliances and electronics in the house get connected to the world wide web, the more we lose our privacy.

Yes, it’s true that IoT is making our lives easier with each passing day and making humans more efficient. Now, our refrigerator can tell us when we need to fill the ice tray with water, or when we need fresh bread to add to the stock. We can close and open our doors with the click of a button. It has been a distant dream to have all this in the future, but this is the future and we are already contributing to enhance it by providing a lot of data every day. Like in the movie THE GAME PLAN, the player had everything automated with one universal remote in the year 2007.

Similarly, we have witnessed several movies set in the future, the biggest example being the TERMINATOR series. There are robots from the future who are trying to stop the Resistance by dissenting down and trying to eliminate the source, John Connor. In the Original TV Series of STAR TREK, which was totally based in the future, the kind of gadgets that have been shown are slowly becoming a reality for us. But all of this comes with a price, and that price is losing our Privacy.

Where can we find IoT?

There are many examples of things that we use every day and that are connected with the Internet for better services and action. We need to find out for ourselves whether we are a part of good or evil that will come out of IoT. There are times when employees bring their own devices to work and that may be a threat to cyber security of the company. This was seen through a news article. “Our devices live in an open and free world. They connect to anything. They connect to good things and bad things. They don’t know the difference,” said Paul Paget, chief executive of Pwnie Express, the Boston cyber threat detection firm.

The news report also stated that there were offices equipped with smart whiteboards, security cameras that were wireless and phones that were Bluetooth-enabled and attached to the internet as well. All of this poses a lot of threat to the data of the office, which can be accessed from any remote location if proper procedure is not in place to take care of it. “If left un-combatted, (Internet of Things) botnets are expected to evolve in sophistication and impact for at least the next three years,” said a research report released in December by a cybersecurity think-tank, the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.

Rate of Data Manufacturing

This issue was raised three long years ago. Why I state long is because in the internet world the amount of data creation that has taken place within this period is more than one can imagine. There is a recent report by Seagate that the global data sphere will grow from 45 zettabytes in 2019 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. Nearly 30% of the world’s data will need real-time processing.

Are we ready for this? It’s hard to say that we are ready for this, maybe by 2025 we will hit a miracle jackpot and will be able to take care of the Ocean of data that we are manufacturing. “Today, more than 5 billion consumers interact with data every day — by 2025, that number will be 6 billion, or 75% of the world’s population. In 2025, each connected person will have at least one data interaction every 18 seconds. Many of these interactions are because of the billions of IoT devices connected across the globe, which are expected to create over 90 ZB of data in 2025.” — The Digitization of the World.

There are other remarkable stats for the year 2025 with regard to data and its storage predictions:

  • The storage industry will ship 42ZB of capacity over the next seven years.
  • 90ZB of data will be created on IoT devices by 2025.
  • By 2025, 49 percent of data will be stored in public cloud environments.
  • Nearly 30 percent of the data generated will be consumed in real-time by 2025.

IDC says businesses are looking to centralize data management and delivery, as well as to leverage data to control their businesses and the user experience.

There are numerous studies determining that most people do not understand how many of their devices and appliances are attached to the internet. Like in the movie TRANSFORMERS, when the Deceptecons attacked, the Toaster was also found to be deadly. Autobots had to strategize in a different manner when the attack happened. But that was strategy work because the movie was written in that manner. Are we really ready to combat such battles if they take place in the future? Because of the vulnerability of people and their little understanding about IoTs, hackers have easy targets at hand.

Expected Challenges of the IoT:

  • Technical Issues
    • Dynamic standards to be developed
    • New Identification Address to be developed
  • Legal Issues
    • Is the Law ready?
    • What happens if the Internet goes down?
    • How to tackle the IoT devices?
    • What if the device breaks down?
    • Are our standards ready?
    • What will happen if the service provider is out of business?
  • Solutions
    • Dynamic Laws ensuring accountability
    • Laws ensuring control over the data exchange
    • Formation of International Legal Entity
    • Integration of the existing Acts to make an empowered one
  • Ethical Issues
    • Identification of the Author
    • Privacy of the Information provided by the user
    • Access to the Information
    • Integrity of the Information
  • Solutions
    • Make the user aware
    • Modify the policies
    • Self-adapt to the security policy

Strengthening IoT Security

The users of IoTs need to take control over their security system by understanding the basics of it. Basic awareness regarding the usage style must be done. There are states that have introduced these awareness programs at a very initial stage of schooling in order to make kids understand what they are getting into. Currently, in every household, the most vulnerable are the kids when it comes to cyber issues.

According to a report outlined in Cyberscoop8, tightening IoT Security will require work on all fronts, with no one “silver bullet”. Some of the security steps include:

  • Encryption
  • Access logs for IoT devices
  • Effective and secure password policies
  • Network security and device authentication
  • Design with the goal of security and privacy9

Saito’s statement for understanding whether the security risk is worth or not “For the first time ever, mankind is using ever cheaper and more powerful IoT devices to collect data automatically from sensors on a mass scale. It will also bring forth a whole new realm of possibilities that we have yet to tap into or understand. We all just need to think with an updated security engineering mindset, and this is the year to get serious about it.”10

Conclusion

The rapid evolution of IoT and its dramatic shift in connecting people, businesses, devices etc. is going to impact our lives forever. As we have now learnt how to maintain distance because of a virus, it’s almost time we learn either how to make distance with devices and things that are connected to the internet or we learn how to save ourselves if IoTs take over the world. I have tried to explore as many issues as possible in one place, but as the technology is ever-evolving, similarly the challenges will keep getting bigger and more effective. But it’s not all the negative parts that we should look at, we should always remember to have a little faith in the human mind and its capabilities to overcome all adversities. When the situation comes, the human mind will take care of the human race. Till then, let’s keep learning more so that we can make everyone around us aware about the kind of danger they are getting into by providing their data.


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