What is privacy in the 'internet of things'?

More and more devices are communicating with developers and other parties, mostly without you realising it. PrivacyWijzer is a research project. We uncover the hidden reality.

Modern cars are driving computers. They collect huge amounts of personal data and share it with car manufacturers and other commercial parties. How sharp do you steer through a corner? Do you ever let go of the wheel? How loud is your music? Added up, all the data tells more about yourself than you might think. We want to know what is actually collected, by whom and what happens to that data.

The "smart home" industry is growing rapidly, but is often ill-conceived in terms of privacy. All sorts of home products and services are increasingly in direct contact with the internet, but often without transparency about the purpose for which data is collected and without proper opportunities for consumers to exercise their privacy rights. Effectively, consumers who want to make their homes safer or more energy efficient are presented with an ethically irresponsible choice. Privacy becomes change for safety and sustainability.

How many steps do you take per day? What is your heart rate? And what is the relationship? What does that about your stress levels? In your mind, link to your browsing habits or app usage. It only takes a few data points to expose your personal life. With our smart watches, pedometers and headphones, we walk naked around town without knowing who can see. Privacy First reads the terms and conditions for you. We find out how data is linked and the risks of sharing it.

We connect cheap and rapidly produced technology to our home networks. The street is filmed with hackable doorbells. There are sensors in entrance gates, billboards and lampposts. Then everything is linked together and without us being able to oversee the consequences. Who will soon have access to that vast network of data points and what can it be used for? Who has an interest in such an ocean of data? We will investigate and publish that here.

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