Privacy on the Internet of Things?

“Data privacy is a big enough deal that Americans need a new right — something nobody even imagined a generation ago.

Your computer and cellphone are already tracking and sending a lot of data about you, and although you may not realize it, you can listen in. (You can generally do it by installing something called a “root certificate.”) Even though only a few people might do this, their findings benefit us all. For example, in 2012, it was a Stanford graduate student, Jonathan Mayer, who first publicized the fact that Google was circumventing the security system in Apple’s Safari browser to track users across the Web, contrary to Google’s prior statements to consumers.

The problem is that today’s Internet of Things devices are different: For the most part, you can’t eavesdrop. Manufacturers are shipping devices as sealed-off products that will speak, encrypted, only with the manufacturer’s servers over the Internet. Encryption is a great way to protect against eavesdropping from bad guys. But when it stops the devices’ actual owners from listening in to make sure the device isn’t tattling on them, the effect is anti-consumer.

To address the technical issues and make these systems more robust and secure, we have started the Secure Internet of Things Project, a collaboration among Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Michigan.”

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