Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: William Schmarzo, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Elizabeth White, Mark Herring

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Data Privacy – with Great Power Comes Great Responsibility | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData

Achieving the proper balance between business needs, data privacy and convenience

Data Privacy - with Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Smart phones. Smart TVs. Smart toilet seats (yes that is a thing!). Let's face it, smart technology surrounds us. It has become a de facto part of our everyday lives. The Internet of Things is growing at breakneck speeds. No matter which analyst you read, the growth predictions are staggering. Gartner predicts that we will hit over 20 billion (with a B) devices by 2020. IHS predicts even larger numbers, with 30 billion by 2020, and over 75 billion devices by 2025. No matter what, that's a lot of devices. A lot of the devices will be with us, on us, in our homes. All of them will be collecting information, sending large amounts of data up into the cloud. Many times without us even being aware of it.

A wonderful convenience, but...what is the tradeoff
My son recently forwarded me an article in the National Law Review (as point of explanation, he is a 1st year law student) that I thought was a great example of the challenge. The article was discussing a recent court case settlement Vizio made regarding their Smart TVs. Vizio had built in a feature called ‘smart interactivity.' Based on what you were watching, it would make recommendations. Seems simple enough and, obviously, a great convenience to the consumer. What it was doing under the covers was significantly more. The software coupled the viewing information with other IP addresses in the household, correlating that activity with the viewing information. Additionally, they coupled this with various demographics on the household. What got them in trouble was, they were then selling this data, and had not disclosed to the consumer that they were collecting it.

Privacy vs the world
A little over a year ago, I attended a session at a Gartner Symposium entitled ‘Privacy vs the World' presented by Heidi Wachs, a research director at Gartner. She presented many examples of data privacy concerns. She raised the point that ‘the lines between social culture, corporate culture and regulation are blurred when it comes to privacy.' She asked the attendees ‘How can organizations truly define privacy so that it is appropriately preserved?' The discussion revolved around the constant struggle and balancing of the business needs, convenience, and addressing the privacy and security concerns of the users of the system. As many of you know, one of my favorite sayings is ‘Everything is a tradeoff.' The phrase was never truer than in our new world of constant technology disruption, where new uses, devices and the data that is being collected appear at breakneck speeds. Sometimes before we even understand the implications and tradeoffs involved.

The European Union is working very hard to get ahead of the curve on the privacy challenges. The law, called the General Data Protection Regulation, was passed last year, and is considered one of the toughest privacy laws to be implemented to date. At the core, the law will allow Europeans "...to tell companies to stop profiling them, they'll have much greater control over what happens to their data, and they'll find it easier to launch complaints about the misuse of their information." The explosive growth and volume of personal data being collected is going to present challenges for everyone.

With great power comes great responsibility
As technologists, we have a responsibility to help the business understand the tradeoffs and risks involved in this rapidly changing environment. We as humans, by nature, love to hoard things, and data is no different. The Internet of Things is allowing us to accumulating large amounts of data as it passes through our systems. If it is in or passes through your system, you have a responsibility for ensuring the rules are followed. What level of privacy is needed / required / desired is fully dependent on the data itself. Not all data is created equal; some requires more privacy than others. Privacy and the security mechanisms needed to implement that privacy is not a once-and-done kind of thing; it's constantly evolving and changing. Heidi asked a challenging question in the session I mentioned earlier. ‘When a law enforcement agency comes asking for all that data you have been hoarding, what will you do?' Better to be proactive and plan ahead than reactive when the situation occurs.

Some recent news stories reinforce Heidi's question:

  • An Ohio man was a suspect in a recent arson and insurance fraud case. The police got a warrant to retrieve his pacemaker data history for that day to refute his story. ‘A cardiologist who reviewed the data said that it was "highly improbable" that Compton had carried out all of the activity he described to police the night of the fire.'
  • In Arkansas, data from a smart water meter was used as evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for murder.

Accepting the challenge and striking the balance
In this fast-paced, rapidly changing technology environment we live in today, we are providing and collecting huge amounts of data from an ever-increasing number of potential sources, whether they be mobiles, wearables, our vehicles, or any other of a myriad of sources we haven't even thought about. This data is traveling through the nebulous cloud environment we all love to talk about, and traveling through the ether to its final destination. Our challenge as technologists is to understand the implications, challenges, and tradeoffs involved in that world, and be able to articulate those to the business so that the proper balance between business needs, data privacy, convenience, et al, can be achieved.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nirmata will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nirmata provides a comprehensive platform, for deploying, operating, and optimizing containerized applications across clouds, powered by Kubernetes. Nirmata empowers enterprise DevOps teams by fully automating the complex operations and management of application containers and its underlying ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Opsani is creating the next generation of automated continuous deployment tools designed specifically for containers. How is continuous deployment different from continuous integration and continuous delivery? CI/CD tools provide build and test. Continuous Deployment is the means by which...