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TWiTIoT: This Week in The Internet of Things – IoT-Enabled Domestic Violence and Personal Security

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Devops, Johan Cruyff, Total football - and Total IT?

Greetings, and welcome. This week, a helpful response to a troubling rise in domestic violence via IoT devices, and a new IoT-enabled personal security device. As always, your thoughts, reactions, and suggestions welcome. Just send a quick email to medortch@dortchonit.com. And for more on the Internet of Things and IIoT, check out “DortchOnIT’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Weekly.” Thanks.

A New Online Resource to Aid, Educate Victims of Domestic Violence via Internet of Things Devices

What Happened:A research team at University College London (UCL) in the UK launched an online resource list designed to help victims of domestic violence committed by manipulation of internet-connected devices.

  1. As Gizmodo reported, the new resource “lists a number of tools and organizations that are intended to both inform victims on the IoT landscape as well as how to deal with technology that someone might target them with.” The list intends to give “victims the information they need not only to understand how smart homes work, but to understand how they are vulnerable to bad actors.”
  2. The new resource list appears within weeks of a disturbing report by The New York Times. That report detailed “ways in which domestic abusers have weaponized smart home technology, exploiting devices such as internet-connected doorbells, speakers, and thermostats to harass their partners.”
  3. The new resource list “was put together by the university’s Gender and Internet of Things (G-IoT) team with help from the London Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Consortium, Privacy International, and the PETRAS IoT Research Hub.” The authors intend to keep the list “regularly updated.”

What It Means:This welcome new resource is likely only one of the first of many to come. Each one shines more and brighter light on a darkly ironic aspect of the Internet of Things specifically and of transformative technologies in general. They can help, and they can hurt, often with equally momentous effect.

What You Should Do:Ensure that all of your colleagues, employees, family members, and friends who live or work where Internet of Things devices manage access or security know about this list. Inform them of others as you discover them as well. Become and remain vigilant about these and other IoT-enabled threats, and about defenses and protections against them. (See “New Threats from Technology – and How IT People Can Help.”

“My Hero,” Powered by the IoT

What Happened: South Korea’s SK Telecom released “My Hero,” an Internet of Things – enabled personal security device.

  1. As ZD Net reported, SK Telecom’s My Hero is “an Internet of Things (IoT) protection kit shaped like lipstick that can alert the police in emergencies.” The device activates when opened, and “will send out a 90dB alarm, and a text to the police using Korean emergency number 112.”
  2. The device will also automatically record three minutes of audio. “Users can also configure the device to send texts and GPS information to up to five friends.”
  3. My Hero is about the size of a typical lipstick, “and will be easy to carry in bags or wear as a necklace.” It costs 25,000 won, or approximately US$22.

What It Means: Retailers and carriers around the world are always looking for more ways to generate more revenues and retention from customers. Such personal security devices, building upon the popularity of other wearables such as fitness monitors, could help to achieve both goals. However, wearables and their accompanying apps are already proving to be attractive targets to bad actors. In March, as Slate reported, “about 150 million MyFitnessPal app users may have been affected by a data breach that took place in February.”

What You Should Do:Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or administrator of Internet of Things devices and/or connections, you must know by now that they are here to stay. You probably also know that every single such device represents a potential vulnerability to your IT infrastructure and organization. This knowledge should compel you to shop, sell, and manage with cybersecurity uppermost in your mind and on your list of priorities, now and in the future. See “TWiTIoT: This Week in The Internet of Things – Every IoT Device A Security Risk?”)

Other Stuff: A Great Interview and a Pretty Good Webcast

The great interview is with Bill Hoffman, president of the Industrial Internet Consortium. He and Jon Gold of Network World discuss “Internet of Things and the role of automation and AI.” And more. Definitely worth a read.

Speaking of “the role of automation and AI,” I got to have a spirited discussion about that subject recently with Rob Young. He’s a former industry analyst, as am I. He’s also senior director of product marketing at Astound, purveyors of AI solutions for IT and business service management. We also discussed how IT leaders and teams must and can evolve to thrive in the age of AI and beyond.

Feel free to enjoy a recording of the discussion (and grab a five-step framework for modern IT leadership), compliments of Astound. And to read my IT Chroniclespost inspired by part of that discussion, if you haven’t done so already. And to share all of the above widely if you find them valuable, and to let me know why via email to medortch@dortchonit.com if you don’t.

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Michael Dortch

As an IT industry analyst, consultant, journalist, and marketer, Michael Dortch has been translating bits and bytes into dollars and sense for four decades. His areas of expertise include strategic content planning, development, and creation, core content execution, and social media and online community development and outreach. Michael has helped to launch new products, enable sales teams, influence influencers, and grow web site traffic, prospects, leads, and positive perceptions for companies large and small. He also enjoys cooking, eating, traveling, and singing.