Timothy M. Denton

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Internet of things chapter 2

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This is going to be an ongoing series, I can tell. Today's headline is "Women settle lawsuit with Canadian maker of Internet-connected vibrator for US$3.75M" and you are going to ask what this has to do with the Internet of things? Everything. This is the Internet of things at work, or play, if you feel that way inclined.

  • An IP address
  • A device recording intimate personal activity
  • A name of a user and and an email address
  • radio-based connection
  • an app uniting them all

Says the National Post article:

We-Vibe Rave, released two years ago, is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible.

A cellphone app called We-Connect allows users and their partners to control the Rave’s intensity and vibration patterns remotely over the Internet and allows for private text messages and video calls.

“Unbeknownst to its customers … (Standard Innovation) designed We-Connect to collect and record highly intimate and sensitive data regarding consumers’ personal We-Vibe use, including the date and time of each use and the selected vibration settings, and transmit such usage data — along with the users’ personal email address — to its servers in Canada,” reads the September court filing.

 

The company has been engaged in barn-door closing:

Denny Alexander, a spokesman for Standard Innovation, said the company has since overhauled its privacy policy and removed any requirement for users to register their device or to provide their name, email or phone number or other identifying information to use We-Connect. Customers can now opt out of sharing anonymous data, and the privacy policy was rewritten to make it easier for users to understand how data is collected and what it is used for.

To cite Leonard Cohen again:

"There'll be a meter on your bed that will disclose,

what every body knows"

It will take many more lawsuits before it sinks through everyone's head that you cannot, cannot devise machines without considering privacy implications.

 

 

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Timothy Denton is a lawyer by training who practices principally in telecommunications and Internet policy and domain name issues, with a strong concentration on explaining what the technology is and what it means.

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Guest Sunday, 25 June 2017
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