Last week I had the opportunity to speak at IQPC M2M Forum Europe on privacy and data protection in the Internet of Things (IoT) environment. With some of Europe’s key telcos and IoT solutions providers present, the conference provided for a great stakeholder environment to talk about these often neglected yet crucial IoT regulatory issues.
Referring to the recent EU Article 29 Working Party, a key EU data protection body, guidance on the topic that we also addressed in our blog, I pointed out the key IoT privacy concerns. Of course, the machines connected to the IoT do not themselves enjoy any privacy rights. However, they can increasingly tell a story about humans who do. Doing simple things such as turning on the heating in your flat or turning on your car engine will, in a smart IoT environment, leave a digital record. The higher the number of machines interconnected, the more complex and detailed the story told by such records.
That is where IoT meets Big Data: virtually insignificant, trivial information can be combined into a full story about an individual who might find it hard to stay anonymous even if his or her name is not immediately included in the records. The world of Big Data leaves little room for privacy, and connecting more physical devices with multiple sensors to the IoT only makes the situation worse.