Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: John Walsh, Elizabeth White, James Carlini, Xenia von Wedel, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Data Privacy – with Great Power Comes Great Responsibility | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData

Achieving the proper balance between business needs, data privacy and convenience

Data Privacy - with Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Smart phones. Smart TVs. Smart toilet seats (yes that is a thing!). Let's face it, smart technology surrounds us. It has become a de facto part of our everyday lives. The Internet of Things is growing at breakneck speeds. No matter which analyst you read, the growth predictions are staggering. Gartner predicts that we will hit over 20 billion (with a B) devices by 2020. IHS predicts even larger numbers, with 30 billion by 2020, and over 75 billion devices by 2025. No matter what, that's a lot of devices. A lot of the devices will be with us, on us, in our homes. All of them will be collecting information, sending large amounts of data up into the cloud. Many times without us even being aware of it.

A wonderful convenience, but...what is the tradeoff
My son recently forwarded me an article in the National Law Review (as point of explanation, he is a 1st year law student) that I thought was a great example of the challenge. The article was discussing a recent court case settlement Vizio made regarding their Smart TVs. Vizio had built in a feature called ‘smart interactivity.' Based on what you were watching, it would make recommendations. Seems simple enough and, obviously, a great convenience to the consumer. What it was doing under the covers was significantly more. The software coupled the viewing information with other IP addresses in the household, correlating that activity with the viewing information. Additionally, they coupled this with various demographics on the household. What got them in trouble was, they were then selling this data, and had not disclosed to the consumer that they were collecting it.

Privacy vs the world
A little over a year ago, I attended a session at a Gartner Symposium entitled ‘Privacy vs the World' presented by Heidi Wachs, a research director at Gartner. She presented many examples of data privacy concerns. She raised the point that ‘the lines between social culture, corporate culture and regulation are blurred when it comes to privacy.' She asked the attendees ‘How can organizations truly define privacy so that it is appropriately preserved?' The discussion revolved around the constant struggle and balancing of the business needs, convenience, and addressing the privacy and security concerns of the users of the system. As many of you know, one of my favorite sayings is ‘Everything is a tradeoff.' The phrase was never truer than in our new world of constant technology disruption, where new uses, devices and the data that is being collected appear at breakneck speeds. Sometimes before we even understand the implications and tradeoffs involved.

The European Union is working very hard to get ahead of the curve on the privacy challenges. The law, called the General Data Protection Regulation, was passed last year, and is considered one of the toughest privacy laws to be implemented to date. At the core, the law will allow Europeans "...to tell companies to stop profiling them, they'll have much greater control over what happens to their data, and they'll find it easier to launch complaints about the misuse of their information." The explosive growth and volume of personal data being collected is going to present challenges for everyone.

With great power comes great responsibility
As technologists, we have a responsibility to help the business understand the tradeoffs and risks involved in this rapidly changing environment. We as humans, by nature, love to hoard things, and data is no different. The Internet of Things is allowing us to accumulating large amounts of data as it passes through our systems. If it is in or passes through your system, you have a responsibility for ensuring the rules are followed. What level of privacy is needed / required / desired is fully dependent on the data itself. Not all data is created equal; some requires more privacy than others. Privacy and the security mechanisms needed to implement that privacy is not a once-and-done kind of thing; it's constantly evolving and changing. Heidi asked a challenging question in the session I mentioned earlier. ‘When a law enforcement agency comes asking for all that data you have been hoarding, what will you do?' Better to be proactive and plan ahead than reactive when the situation occurs.

Some recent news stories reinforce Heidi's question:

  • An Ohio man was a suspect in a recent arson and insurance fraud case. The police got a warrant to retrieve his pacemaker data history for that day to refute his story. ‘A cardiologist who reviewed the data said that it was "highly improbable" that Compton had carried out all of the activity he described to police the night of the fire.'
  • In Arkansas, data from a smart water meter was used as evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for murder.

Accepting the challenge and striking the balance
In this fast-paced, rapidly changing technology environment we live in today, we are providing and collecting huge amounts of data from an ever-increasing number of potential sources, whether they be mobiles, wearables, our vehicles, or any other of a myriad of sources we haven't even thought about. This data is traveling through the nebulous cloud environment we all love to talk about, and traveling through the ether to its final destination. Our challenge as technologists is to understand the implications, challenges, and tradeoffs involved in that world, and be able to articulate those to the business so that the proper balance between business needs, data privacy, convenience, et al, can be achieved.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...