The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking interest in the rise of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). Specifically, the federal agency wants to ensure the technologies don’t compromise consumer privacy, so it has set up a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI) to look into it.
The OTRI will provide research, investigative techniques and insights to the agency on technology issues involving all facets of the FTC’s consumer protection mission, including privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and IoT.
“The FTC keeps its finger on the pulse of markets, channeling its resources to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair practices involving new technologies,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a blog post. She described the initiative as a way to ensure “consumers enjoy the benefits of technological progress without being placed at risk of deceptive and unfair practices.”
Privacy and Security Concerns
The FTC’s efforts seem to be on target. Although IoT is clearly gaining momentum, consumers are concerned about privacy and security.
Nearly 65 percent of American consumers are moderately or extremely interested in adopting smart home solutions, according to new research from the Internet of Things Consortium. And 71 percent of those consumers buy smart home products and services based on word-of-mouth referrals from people they trust or in-store employee recommendations.
Two-thirds of respondents are concerned about privacy. In fact, across age, gender and income, 66 percent of survey respondents express concern about privacy. This finding highlights the need for industry participants to mitigate privacy and security concerns to drive the industry forward, according to the researchers.
Welcoming Some Oversight
We asked Zeus Kerravala, a principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his thoughts about the FTC getting involved in the nascent but growing IoT industry. He told us he has mixed feelings about it.
“I don’t want the FTC to bog things down. That tends to happen any time you have government involvement, but I do think, by and large, if you look at most of the IoT services, they are all opt-in,” Kerravala said. “While there are some tremendous benefits to IoT, it does open the door for hackers and other people who are up to no good to take advantage of people through some of these opt-in services.”
As Kerravala sees it, if the FTC is monitoring IoT to make sure consumer information is kept private and people who want to opt-out can do so easily, the positives early on outweigh the negatives.
“If you talk to people about IoT, the number one concern is privacy,” Kerravala said. “So having some sort of regulation around what people can see and what they can’t see, who can opt in and who can opt out makes some sense right now.”
Posted: 2015-03-27 @ 4:49am PT
There is no Big Data. Language has its own Internal parsing, indexing and statistics. For instance, there are two sentences:
b) ‘In this amazing city of Rome some people sometimes may cry in agony: ‘Fire!’’
Evidently, that the phrase ‘Fire!’ has different importance into both sentences, in regard to extra information in both. This distinction is reflected as the phrase weights: the first has 1, the second –0.12; the greater weight signifies stronger emotional ‘acuteness’.
First you need to parse obtaining phrases from clauses, for sentences and paragraphs. Next, you calculate Internal statistics, weights; where the weight refers to the frequency that a context phrase occurs in relation to other context phrases.
After that, you index each word from each phrase by dictionary, annotate it by subtexts.
Posted: 2015-03-25 @ 12:13pm PT
Privacy is one concern, a junkyard full of "obsolete" devices is a bigger one. The hardware is still good, but the manufacturers do not provide software updates because they prefer to make money selling new devices. The FTC should mandate that if devices do not receive security updates, they must be opened and documented so that users can flash them with newer firmware.