The coming privacy crisis on the Internet of Things

Will privacy survive the coming of the Internet of Things?

Alasdair Allan


It turns out that the concept of privacy as we know it today is only about 150 years old. Because while foundations were laid as early as 1200 AD, what we would regard as privacy is really only a child of the Industrial Revolution.

It isn’t something we think about every day, and we don’t often think about how our own actions will affect our privacy. At best, we might shred our bank statements before throwing them out, or cover the keypad as we type our PIN number.

Despite this most of us would regard privacy as a fundamental human right. But unfortunately the law hasn’t quite caught up with how we live our lives today.

While your privacy may be protected in your home, you have “a right to be left alone,” in many countries the right to privacy isn’t explicitly protected, especially when it comes to the Internet.

Privacy isn’t really about keeping things private, it’s not about secrets, its about choice.

There, and for the last thirty years, we’re seen an increasingly aggressive erosion of our privacy. Because privacy isn’t really about keeping things private, it’s not about secrets, its about choice. The choice of what you tell people about yourself, and unfortunately there really is only one business model on the Internet, and that’s advertising.

People have refused to subscribe to services or pay for content on the Web. Instead advertising supports the services that sit underneath almost everything we do online, and behind advertising is the data that makes it possible.

Think about how your day-to-day experience of the Web would be different if Google charged a monthly subscription fee for its search service, or worse yet, used a micro-payment based approach to charge you on a search-by-search basis.