The Internet of Things (IoT) a term coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 that refers to the network that enables objects to communicate with each other and exchange information. The IoT is what we can call the next step in the evolution of wireless networks, the progress that has been made from closed networks to enterprise IT networks to the internet has been faster than anticipated and it is expected that by the year 2020 nearly 50 billion things will comprise the IoT, creating a $1.7 trillion market.
Most of the advancements in technology tend to focus on convenience, on making life easier for people around the world. The IoT is changing fundamentally the way people interact with their environment, and how they carry out everyday tasks. Some of the applications of the IoT in the household enable users to adjust the temperature remotely or turn on lights from their bed; they can also check the door from the comfort of their desk, activate alarms, control door locks and other appliances, all of these remotely. While it is true that these advances make life more convenient for the general population they are an excellent tool for People With Disabilities they enable PwDs to become independent and self-reliant, the IoT can be a great equalizer of opportunities if applied correctly.
As Jacob Morgan said in 2014 “The new rule for the future is going to be, “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.” It is imperative to recognize that the importance of the IoT does not lie solely in the numbers, it is an essential component of development, and an opportunity to achieve real equality. As substantial new opportunities are opening up through improved access and use of Big Data Techniques, are becoming an essential tool in the advancements necessary to achieve the Sustainable development Goals in both developed and developing countries.
Nevertheless there is important data to consider for example; in the 2016 ICT Households “Survey on the Use of Information and Communication Technologies Brazilian Households” among households without internet connection one of the reasons cited for the absence of this technology in their household was: concerns about security and privacy with 40%. This number is significant and should be taken with consideration because one of the most significant risks of the IoT seems to be that it provides hackers and cybercriminals with more entry points, and privacy becomes almost secondary when everything is connected, what information is off limits?
These question, and others that raise from the security and privacy concerns, are crucial as security and privacy are mentioned as one of the critical aspects that must be considered in the implementation and adoption of IoT to improve people´s lives in the publication titled “Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development” published by ITU and CISCO as a contribution to the UN broadband commission for sustainable development. Trust and confidence are fundamental in the adoption and implementation of the IoT, and “two key components to ensure trust and confidence are privacy and security: a) Strategies to protect privacy must take a range of risks into account from a variety of different sources as well as adapt to local regulations; and b) Acceleration of research into IoT related security threats to minimize the downsides of the IoT across M2M and M2P communications.” (Biiggs, Garrity, LaSalle, Polomska, & Pepper, 2017) Those two key components need to be implemented together, not phased it is essential that we minimize the risks while the technology and research catch-up.
The main issues presented regarding security have to do with the fact that it may be vulnerable to hacking, companies might not be ready as first iterations of products usually tend to have flaws and that there is no consensus on where security should be implemented. Looking at privacy the concerns grow since there is just too much data floating on the internet with only 10, 000 households connected we could be talking about 150 million discrete data points every day. That is why several theories and documents explore the ramifications of security in the IoT in this article we provide information regarding approaches that have been taken to ensure security in the past and how there is not one single solution in the effort to achieve full security for the IoT.
In conclusion, the IoT provides an incredible opportunity for development and advancements in the search for more equitable societies. However, these advancements require the correct implementation of security and privacy measures that enable users and households to confidently approach tasks in different ways, that is why it is necessary not only for the legal framework of countries to guarantee that data remains private and that security is taken into consideration both at the device and network levels. The opportunities and advantages presented by the IoT outweigh the risks and threats presented by a connected household that is why it is our belief that security must be a primary concern of countries, developers, and engineers as we approach the reality of a fully connected household and world.
Biiggs, P., Garrity, J., LaSalle, C., Polomska, A., & Pepper, R. (2017). Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development. Retrieved from International Telecommunications Union: https://www.itu.int/en/action/broadband/Documents/Harnessing-IoT-Global-Development.pdf
Brazilian Network Information Center. (2016). 2016 ICT Households. Survey on the Use of Infromation and Communication Technologies in Brazilian Households. Retrieved from nic.br: http://www.nic.br/media/docs/publicacoes/2/TIC_DOM_2016_LivroEletronico.pdf
Bugeja, J., Jacobsson, A., & Davidsson, P. (2016). On Privacy and Security Challenges in Smart Connected Homes . Retrieved from Muep.Mau.Se: https://muep.mau.se/bitstream/handle/2043/21507/2857a172.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y
G3ict. (2015, July). Internet of Things: New Promises for Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from G3ict: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjLhszY0b_YAhVMRyYKHU-9BYkQFggrMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fg3ict.org%2Fdownload%2Fp%2FfileId_1025%2FproductId_335&usg=AOvVaw0Rd0Qa1WeM7InqYsP4gM8-
Lindsay, G., Woods, B., & Corman, J. (2016, March). Smart Homes and the Internet of Things. Retrieved from Atlantic Council BRENT SCOWCROFT CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: https://otalliance.org/system/files/files/initiative/documents/smart_homes_0317_web.pdf
Madnick, S. (2017, May 8). Security Surprises Arising from the Internet of Things (IoT). Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2017/05/08/security-surprises-arising-from-the-internet-of-things-iot/#21aeb6324958
Meola, A. (2016, Dec 19). How the Internet of Things will affect security & privacy. Retrieved from How the Internet of Things will affect security & privacy: http://www.businessinsider.com/internet-of-things-security-privacy-2016-8
Morgan, J. (2014, May 3). A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things’. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/05/13/simple-explanation-internet-things-that-anyone-can-understand/#6bb174ac1d09
Suo, H., Wan, J., Zou, C., & Liu, J. (2012). Security in the Internet of Things: A Review. Retrieved from International Conference on Computer Science and Electronics Engenieering: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254029342_Security_in_the_Internet_of_Things_A_Review
Wind River. (2015). Security in The Internet of Things: Lessons from the Past for the Connected Future. Retrieved from windriver.com: https://www.windriver.com/whitepapers/security-in-the-internet-of-things/wr_security-in-the-internet-of-things.pdf