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Connected devices – where is my data?

Cloud data

Connected devices are invading our everyday lives and they’re not going anywhere any time soon. Smartphones are their main point of command and control, the web is almost unavoidable as it provides for many services, including social networks. So, where does the data go on connected devices?

Connected devices work on the principle of being controlled by a computer device, such as a smartphone, computer, etc. However, what really gives them the quality of being “connected” is to be networked, one way or another, especially with applications that can use the Internet for certain requirements. A connected device is expected to deliver a specific service, in addition to other information flows and equipment that will connect to a decision-making system. One of the first connected devices was so successful that it can now be found in every smartphone: the GPS chip. It has also been connected to the camera on your smartphone, etc. However, there are a lot of features that are essential to everyday life which have not yet been included on smartphones. For example, electronic thermostats controls for each radiator in every room of the house. In fact, this is so true that Google has invested billions with the company Nest, who are specialists in this field. In summary, connected devices are devices that transmit information and can sometimes be controlled by third-party equipment.

Big data providers

Where a smartphone collects the information from a connected device, it is often only a bridging connection or simply used to display the information that has been collected by the device which then publishes the data to a private area – or if not – on the Internet. When using applications which were created for medical purposes, to control blood sugar levels, heart rate and other sensitive issues pertaining to your health, it is clearly essential that the areas used for publishing this information are private and extremely secure. This means that an insurance company cannot have access to all of your health records and permit themselves to provide you a payout or deny a contract using this information.

However, there are other applications which are less sensitive to the consumer; for example, those that compare their efforts in dieting and sports with friends through social networks. Features of these are found in connected weighing scales, connected wristbands, etc. These features, which appear to be harmless, are posted on social networks and the terms and conditions clearly state that your data no longer belongs to you as soon as it appears published online (through Facebook and Google, among others), and it feeds into databases that, coupled with other information you publish about yourself, can provide all kinds of things to companies on how to sell you new services, or to refuse you for services.

Similarly, on some of the connected devices you take home, there is no indication that they simply carry out the functions which they are supposed to deliver. It’s a bit like smartphone features where we don’t know how they are really used. Basically, anything that concerns sensitive data related to health and privacy, make sure that the data does not get published anywhere at any time.

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