Will the ‘Internet of Things’ mean a world of e-waste and data security issues?

18 April 2016


With an increasingly connected world, the ‘Internet of Things’ - the network of physical objects enabling the collection and exchange of data, has many benefits to consumers and governments alike, such as smart cities, healthcare through remote sensors, and more individualised ways of targeting customers – directing them to a tube of sun cream, or an ice-cream on a hot day for example. But with the abundance of data we divulge on a daily basis, sometimes without even realising it, what does this mean for cyber security? And with the plethora of devices transmitting this data, what about the potential e-waste issue? Recent estimates suggest that around 13bn devices are currently connected to the internet and collecting data, with this number set to double within five years.


“The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.” Kevin Ashton


24/7 data.


In a world governed by The Internet of Things, from the minute we wake up in the morning and check how we’ve slept via our fitness trackers, to the moment we go to bed, data will be collected through multiple sensors, tiny chips and communication devices integrated with physical objects such as appliances, vehicles and buildings to allow communication with cloud servers, smartphones, laptops and the like. And this will often be with little or no human intervention, so data security has to be a concern.


“The Internet will disappear. There will be so many IP addresses, so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with, that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.” Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman, on a panel at The World Economic Forum.


Think safe. Data security and the Internet of Things


Managing the security of a plethora of interconnected devices will be no easy task, but here are a few things to consider.

  1. We need an open ecosystem with standardised application programming interfaces that enable interoperability with an automatic and truly reliable patching system.
  2. Devices must be toughened up with the best practices in the market, so that common security breaches are avoided.
  3. Devices will need to be properly protected on connected networks, both intranet and Internet.


Keep your data safe with secure computer recycling.


As The Internet of Things grows, there will potentially be millions of new devices that will need to be updated and kept safe from hackers, so the importance of responsible computer recycling has never been more vital, if you want to keep your personal and organisational secrets to yourself. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration, to ensure ultimate data security. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.

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