If half of what’s coming out of CES 2014 is to be believed, the long-vaunted Internet of things finally appears to be arriving in a form that the average user can get his mind (and hands and wallet) around.
But that might be just the beginning of the next and most difficult phase yet in the struggle to protect user info, given how freely this new spate of wearable, pluggable, Internet-accessible devices flings around the data it harvests.
Consider Intel’s Edison, an SD-card-sized computer powered by a dual-core Quark system-on-chip, designed for wearable-technology applications: earbuds, smart watch, a baby’s onesie with a built-in baby monitor. Most of Intel’s talk during its demo revolved around how great it would be to have such items harvesting our movements and even our body functions — the more you know, as they say. Even big data — or would that be big math? — folks like Wolfram Research are happily jumping on board.
But there wasn’t much talk of where that data would be kept or what kind of protection would be used for it. The same goes for most of the other data-gathering devices unveiled at the show, from the sleep-tracking Aura to the EverSense thermostat. “The more you know” could end up as “the more anyone else can know, too” — and not in a good way.