Pew: Connected Devices as Common as Electricity by 2025

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:47 AM

By Elliot Jager

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With the Internet poised to be less visible yet more entrenched, a major challenge will be enjoying the benefits without forfeiting privacy and security, Reviewed.com reported.

So many devices will be connected that by 2025 the Internet will take on the character of the electric grid, according to a Pew Research study released in March.

With the World Wide Web having recently turned 25, Pew asked 1,800 experts to ponder the digital future. They mostly concluded that a "global, immersive, invisible, ambient" system will appear by 2025 that will be driven by the "proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, and databases," according to Reviewed.

This phenomenon is known as "the Internet of Things" or "IoT." A wide array of applications from commercial and industrial to medical and recreational is encompassed by the Internet of Things. Hardly noticeable gadgets will keep track of our health. Others will collect data in real time to allow industrial glitches to be identified and corrected. All the while, IoT gadgets will seamlessly communicate with each other.

Any threat to the security of such connected devices compromises the privacy and security of those who depend on them. Viruses are already targeting connected devices such as security cameras. The National Security Agency reportedly has the capacity to take over a smartphone, even when it's turned off, and use its microphone or camera for spying.

As kitchen appliances, recreational gadgets, and home thermostats become part of the Internet of Things, more attention will have to be paid to their security. Cybersecurity analyst Michela Menting is convinced that as IoT expands so will the "ecosystem" that will protect its integrity. "There's no reason to think that people will not want to spend more to secure larger more expensive goods for the long term," Menting told Reviewed.

"It's my belief that as we connect more things in our life, many of them will hold ever more personal information we do not want disclosed," Menting said. "Here privacy issues start coming into play and liability for data leakage" will encourage those responsible to provide greater security.

Other experts are less confident about what IoT might bring. Internet sociologist Howard Rheingold worries that, "We will live in a world where many things won't work, and nobody will know how to fix them."

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