Internet of Things - Identity Protection


IoT devices collect data about their environment, which includes people. These benefits introduce heavy risk. The data itself does not present the danger, however, its depth does. The highly detailed data collection paints a very clear picture of an individual, giving criminals all the information they need to take advantage of someone.

People may also not be aware of the level of privacy; for example, entertainment devices may gather A/V data, or “watch” a consumer, and share intimate information. The demand and price for this data exacerbates the issue considering the number and diversity of parties interested in sensitive data.

Problems specific to IoT technology lead to many of its privacy issues, which primarily stem from the user's inability to establish and control privacy −


The traditional model for “notice and consent” within connected systems generally enforces existing privacy protections. It allows users to interact with privacy mechanisms, and set preferences typically through accepting an agreement or limiting actions. Many IoT devices have no such accommodations. Users not only have no control, but they are also not afforded any transparency regarding device activities.

The Right to be Left Alone

Users have normal expectations for privacy in certain situations. This comes from the commonly accepted idea of public and private spaces; for example, individuals are not surprised by surveillance cameras in commercial spaces, however, they do not expect them in their personal vehicle. IoT devices challenge these norms people recognize as the “right to be left alone.” Even in public spaces, IoT creeps beyond the limits of expected privacy due to its power.

Indistinguishable Data

IoT deploys in a wide variety of ways. Much of IoT implementation remains group targeted rather than personal. Even if users give IoT devices consent for each action, not every system can reasonably process every set of preferences; for example, small devices in a complex assembly cannot honor the requests of tens of thousands of users they encounter for mere seconds.


Modern big data poses a substantial threat to privacy, but IoT compounds the issue with its scale and intimacy. It goes not only where passive systems cannot, but it collects data everywhere. This supports creation of highly detailed profiles which facilitate discrimination and expose individuals to physical, financial, and reputation harm.


The growth of IoT normalizes it. Users become comfortable with what they perceive as safe technology. IoT also lacks the transparency that warns users in traditional connected systems; consequently, many act without any consideration for the potential consequences.