According to Wikipedia, “The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction”. With the increasing amount of devices collecting gigs and gigs of data, we are creating a smarter world that can augment our decision making and analysis process. There has been some debate over the security aspects of devices within the internet of things. How can we collect data to help make our lives easier but at the same time protect our privacy? There is still a lot of work to be done in this area.
In terms of the positive use of the internet of things technologies, first responders, primary law enforcement, has been working with security device companies such as Ring, who is owned by Amazon. Ring has a variety of devices such as floodlights with cameras, doorbells with cameras and alarm systems. Millions of homeowners now own Ring cameras or similar cameras and it not only allows homeowners to keep an eye on their home while away from home but videos are being collected on anyone that is within view of the cameras. Ring has options to interconnect with neighbours to create an internet of things digital neighbourhood watch.
Law enforcement officers now can request videos from homeowners with smart cameras to help their investigations. Amazon’s Ring has an app called Neighbors that lets you post video and photos of suspicious activities, crime and more in your neighbourhood. Ring is working on a contract with the US police department that would grant it direct access to real-time emergency dispatch data. Here is a snippet from the Ring website,
“The local law enforcement agency in your area may occasionally request video footage from Ring users in order to help with an investigation. Ring helps these law enforcement agencies connect with Ring users by sending an email on their behalf. We’re simply here to connect our users with law enforcement to help them resolve cases.
Receiving this email suggests your Ring device may have captured video during a specific timeframe that could help law enforcement with an investigation. Ring has not shared any information about you, or any recordings that you may have with law enforcement. With video request, law enforcement will never have access to your Ring device and none of your information is shared with law enforcement without your consent. In addition, Ring has not informed law enforcement that you received this email. These emails always come from firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to this article. These details will help you identify an authentic Ring email. Note that if you respond to the email, a Ring Team Member will reply back.”
A great example of how the internet of things could help make a community safer. With that said, there are many that might have security concerns over privacy. Some may have Privacy concerns about this data going to a server in the United States. This is a great concept to enhance security, but visions of Big Brother come to mind. How much is our safety and security worth?
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