The Fairness Challenge of the Internet of Things

By Bang Ngyuen and David De Cremer

The Internet-of-Things essentially enables mass data collection and analysis, to the benefit not just of businesses, but individuals and society too. However the question is, are businesses behaving ethically when collecting, storing and leveraging this data?


The Internet-of-Things (IoT) revolves around interconnected devices, systems and services within the existing Internet infrastructure. The IoT’s value lies in it being able to capture and analyse the data obtained from the sensors at the endpoints of the connected devices. The ability to put all of this data together means that IoT can bring considerable benefits to individuals, businesses and society. Take a look at the following examples:

• Acts of integrating IoT into the health care system can be the implementation of a chip into individuals, for instance with wearable technology, allowing for hospitals to monitor the vital signs of the patient, which could help indicate whether or not serious assessment is necessary.

• For businesses, the IoT can be useful in many different categories including asset tracking and inventory control, security, individual tracking, shipping and location, and energy conservation.

The crux of the IoT is that it allows for communication between devices, allowing extensive data tracking and measurement that makes it possible to predict and subsequently automate logistical processes. Because IoT relies extensively on delivering information to a business to capitalise on the data supplied, a problem of integrity, however, may be around the corner. As Michael Snyder noted, “The Internet allows us to reach into the outside world from inside our homes, but it also allows the reverse to take place as well.” The IoT industry is slowly starting to recognise that their security track record has been poor. High profile cases such as the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement with TRENDnet revealing that because of poor security practices their Home CCTV system allowed strangers to see, and sometimes listen into, over 700 home security camera feeds, have contributed to this sense of awareness. As a matter of fact, from cameras to industrial controls to GPS systems, the increased connectivity of devices leads to increased security threats and should thus be managed properly by the IoT industry. But, is it?

  Please login or register to continue reading... Registration is simple and it is free!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here