Yes, technology is invading our privacy. Is there something we can do about it? Surely. This article will look into it briefly. But, if you are wondering what Oncierre, an empathetic IoT startup is doing about it, the article will cover that too.

 

How is technology invading our privacy?

By the invasion of privacy, I simply mean an intrusion upon information that is meant to be kept private. In the age of information technology, what we live in,  is suavely referred to as data. Ever since Europe released the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the spotlight has been thrown on companies that collect your data.

“It is not just the forms/surveys you submit online/offline with your details on it…”

IoT or Internet of Things enables the machine to machine communication where products like smart wearables and smart home devices are constantly talking to the internet. You guessed it right, they are talking about us. With a wide range of sensors that can capture more than video, audio, location, temperature, proximity, humidity, acceleration, brightness they are constantly picking up information about our routines and our surroundings and storing them. 

Apart from these smart devices, every application that you use on your phone or laptop collects data on your usage patterns. From your browsing history, online shopping habits to your tendency to watch movies on weekends, everything is being recorded. You might have already realized this when you saw ads today for the same sneaker that you were googling yesterday.

“I trust my favourite shopping destination…”

You may argue that they promise to keep the collected information private, but during mergers or acquisitions, the policies may change and let’s not forget that there is always the risk of servers getting hacked and data being leaked. This means information would no longer, or not necessarily stay private and possibly become part of the worldwide web for anyone to access.

Now that you understand technology is or can invade our privacy. Let’s look at what kind of protection the legislature offers us.

Data protection laws in India vs Europe:

General Data Protection Regulation (in Europe)

  • Any firm that collects data on a citizen of the European Union must conform to the GDPR, irrespective of the citizens’ residence or where the company is headquartered.
  • All the data collected on EU citizens must and should be housed on servers physically within the EU.
  • Any data breach must be reported to authorities within 72 hours from when the company was made aware of the breach

There are many more aspects to the GDPR but these are the most simple and commanding ones.

Information Technology Act 2000 ( in India )

  • India does not have any specific legislation on data protection. However, a couple of amendments to the IT Act has given us a right to compensation for improper disclosure of personal information.
  • It has recently taken flak for citing issues related to ‘data localization’ and denying criminal proceedings against foreign companies responsible for improper use and disclosure of private data.

Countries like Brazil have come up with their own versions of the GDPR and hopefully, India will also formulate necessary rules, regulations or make necessary amendments to protect her citizen’s sensitive information.

What can we do to protect our data?

While most of us depend upon the smart home vendor or application owners to encrypt and protect our data the privacy-conscious among us have resorted to taking the matters of encryption into their own hands.

They use VPNs (Virtual Private networks) to mask their identity online and 3rd party Anonymisation-as-a-Service providers. They claim to receive clear data from smart home systems and encrypt them before sending the data across to the smart home vendors

How is Oncierre protecting your data?

Oncierre addresses the issue of data privacy at its root by not collecting any sensitive data. Despite Oncierre being a monitoring solution for seniors that collects data from within your home, there is no or highly limited potential to abuse data collected by Oncierre. Since Oncierre is a non-invasive monitoring system, the only sensors our systems use are PIR sensors which capture the movement of heat signatures. Oncierre is proud to say that the system does not use any cameras, microphone or wearables while most medical alerting systems for seniors depend on data from CCTVs (video-based), GPS pendants (location-based) and microphones (voice-based).

Suggested reading:

GDPR Privacy Implications for the Internet of Things

There may be many points I may have missed. Please write to us at support@oncierre.com with your suggestions and we shall surely include them. Additionally, do leave us a comment and share this article with someone you care about. After all, spreading love and care is what we are here for.

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