US intelligence to spy on citizens using the IoT

The US director of national intelligence, John Clapper, has openly admitted in a statement to congress that the organisation would possibly use the Internet of Things for surveillance.

“In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper said.

This is of course hardly surprising when we consider the opportunities for invasion of privacy, which all those smart connected devices in the IoT would provide for intelligence services around the globe. Unfortunately for the consumer, it’s going to be a real dilemma whether to embrace the IoT and the added convenience and value it may deliver at the cost of the privacy.

The problem is that security in the IoT is rarely even a consideration. An example is with Smart TVs that come into the house having been designed to have microphones ‘always on’ and listening for a verbal command. However, that convenient microphone is also capable of listening in on the ambient conversations in the room. Similarly, with IoT devices in cars, many are voice activated, so they too have microphones ‘always on’ capable of snooping on conversations.

The IoT will present the intelligence services with mouth-watering temptations that will be unable to resist, but I suppose we should be thankful that at least this time, they have come out and warned us that our privacy could be at stake.

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