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Internet-connected gadgets are turning us into ‘digital serfs’ with no control over our personal information, experts warn

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The problem with ‘internet of things’ devices is that we don’t really control them. And it’s not always clear who does. In Joshua A.T. Fairfield’s recent book, he discussed what it means that our environment is seeded with more sensors than ever before

Internet-enabled devices are so common, and so vulnerable, that hackers recently broke into a casino through its fish tank.

  • The problem with IoT devices is that we don’t always know who controls them
  • It’s not always clear who does, which leaves our personal information vulnerable
  • For example, hackers recently stole data from a casino through its fish tank

The tank had internet-connected sensors measuring its temperature and cleanliness.


The hackers got into the fish tank’s sensors and then to the computer used to control them, and from there to other parts of the casino’s network.

The intruders were able to copy 10 gigabytes of data to somewhere in Finland.

By gazing into this fish tank, we can see the problem with ‘internet of things’ devices: We don’t really control them.

And it’s not always clear who does – though often software designers and advertisers are involved.

Our fish tanks, smart televisions, internet-enabled home thermostats, Fitbits and smartphones constantly gather information about us and our environment.

That information is valuable not just for us but for people who want to sell us things.

They ensure that internet-enabled devices are programmed to be quite eager to share information.



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