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Internet of Things Consumer Privacy Checklist

The "Internet of Things" or IoT for short, has taken the marketplace - and our homes - in force. But when someone refers to the IoT what exactly do they mean, and just how pervasive are these devices? The "Internet of things" refers to a broad category of devices that historically did not have the capability to connect to the internet, but are now capable of connecting to the internet or each other. Now, almost anything with an on/off switch can connect to the internet and be considered an IoT device. Computers and mobile phones are not considered IoT devices because internet connectivity is historically part and parcel of their core functions.

This market is expanding rapidly because connecting everyday devices is becoming easier and cheaper. To connect a device to the internet the manufacturer installs a sensor that is connected to an IoT platform. The data collected by the sensor is integrated with the data from all the other devices sharing that platform. Analytics are then applied and the most valuable information is shared with other applications which are built to address specific needs. Research firms estimate there are between 20 billion IOT devices in use around the world and expect that to increase to 50 billion devices by 2020.

How do we maintain our privacy in this time of connectivity? What devices are connected to the internet, what are the device’s vulnerabilities, and how can a consumer or an agency prevent these IoT devices from being hacked and sensitive information leaked? This checklist is meant to educate the reader on what IoT devices are and how to protect themselves.

  • What are examples of IoT devices?

  • What information can a hacker obtain from an IOT device?

  • How to secure your IoT device during set-up:

  • Steps to take to prevent unintentional data download

  • Steps to take to prevent IOT device compromise:

  • Anything that can be done to a computer can be done to an IoT device. These are a small list of how hackers can compromise an IoT device.

  • Other threats to keep in mind:

  • If you think your device has been compromised please refer to the "So You Think You've Been Hacked" checklist for more information on how to stop the attack, deactivate the device, and protect your information.


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The Office of Privacy and Data Protection announces beta testing of “Privacy Modeling,” a new web application that identifies the privacy laws relevant to the product or service you wish to create.

Go to Privacy Modelling App

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