It’s early on a Tuesday, and I’m late for work. I rush out the door, barely having a minute to eat my breakfast and feed the cat. As I’m en route to work, late for a meeting, I’m irresponsibly checking my email when I’m stopped at a red light. And it hits me. Did I turn off the coffee pot? I quickly pull over and log onto Facebook and punch the button for my coffee machine and it informs me that it is, indeed, still on. So, I send the command to shut it off. While I’m there, I check the thermostat in the house. It’s going to be a cold day, and I want to make sure the settings are appropriate. After a quick remediation to the temperature in the house, I remember that the kids are bringing friends over after school today, and wonder if I have enough snacks. A check on my refrigerator and I see that I’m low on milk and apples. I click on the link for the same-day delivery from Amazon and get the items ordered. By the time I’m done with this entire transaction, I’ve gained peace of mind, reduced my electric costs, and ensured the children were taken care of.
Fact or fantasy?
According to Manufacturing Global, Facebook just announced its intentions to play a role in the Internet of Things (IoT). With more and more devices coming online, Facebook has a vested interest in tapping into them as much as possible. With the IoT, Facebook could not only establish more partnerships (Amazon, GE, etc.), but ultimately tap into the information they glean from the IoT. Already masters of leveraging our behaviors for intelligence, now they can get a full picture of who we are and what’s important to us.
Is that good or bad? How much is too much information to give to a company like Facebook? They already have more information on us than we ever thought was possible. Is the convenience of a single log-in outweighing the worries of privacy? Just what could Facebook do with that information on our homes, cars and assets that are connected to the Internet? Beyond the pure “make money” answer, what else should we worry about? Clearly if Facebook were to be hacked, no longer is it a worry that someone might learn my favorite bands and books; could someone now gain access to my home? How would this be treated in the cyberworld?
As my CSC Global Cybersecurity colleague, Robert Carey notes, “The Internet of Things (IoT) presents us with both a tremendous opportunity and some cautions. We take for granted that we can reach out and communicate to anyone and almost anything via our smartphone…but …anything connected to the Internet…can also be accessed by people who choose to do harm. We perform banking, healthcare, check on home security systems from our mobile devices…what we forget is how easy it is for skilled criminals to do the same… Information security is the polar opposite of the convenience afforded via connections to the Internet. And while we all love what we can do conveniently with our devices, are we mindful of security / privacy aspects of the IoT? Remember, cybersecurity is the cost of doing business in the Information Age.”
This is also very interesting news for manufacturers. As they look at enabling their products to be Internet-ready, it could give them incentive to partner with Facebook. This would not only help get the technology into the hands of the customers, but it broadens their social media presence. For manufacturers, this could be a double win.
Facebook entering the IoT excites and worries me in equal measure. The possibilities for how my life could be improved may outweigh my anxiety that someone might turn on my coffee pot when I’m not home. What about you? Excitement or Anxiety?