Manipulation of Personal Data and the Internet of Things

Posted On: July 16, 2020 No Comments

In an ever advancing digital world, privacy issues remain a concern. However, as more and more of us take up digital technology to assist in managing our daily lives the extent to which we put our privacy at greater risk remains an important question for us to think about. As services related to the IoT (internet of things) continues to expand, this begs the question, to what extent can we trust these companies when it comes to our privacy.

This is nothing knew. In 2019 Bloomberg reported that a global team of Amazon workers were listening to what we tell Alexa, annotating and transcribing conversations that would be fed back into the software with a view to enabling better responses to commands. Amazon stated their employees do not have any access to client personal data at all, information is treated with the highest level of confidentiality, and that they have tight measures of security and audit controls in place to protect the privacy of their customers.

Today, Bloomberg reported that the EU are currently investigating tech giants because these companies may be engaged in the act of using data for market advantage.  They reported “EU watchdogs see signs that tech giants might be restricting access to data or making products that don’t work well with those made by other companies.” As part of the EU’s antitrust inquiry into the notion that firms might be using our data in this way, the probe will look into the activities of 400 firms which include products of Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri) and Google (Home).

The power of big companies to be able to manipulate markets is real and Margrethe Vestager, the EU Competition Commissioner,  is keen to prevent monopolisation of markets manifesting itself again in our growing market of the internet of things.


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