On the one hand it was pretty obvious that they were going to do it, it's there, it's actually their job to go for it, so admitting to it in the current climate where even the public authorities that check on them are much more inquisitive was the obvious thing to do.
He does go on to paint a bleak picture for the future though, in more general terms:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
"Smart devices incorporated into the electric grid, vehicles—including autonomous vehicles—and household appliances are improving efficiency, energy conservation, and convenience. However, security industry analysts have demonstrated that many of these new systems can threaten data privacy, data integrity, or continuity of services. In the future, intelligence services might use the loT for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials," Clapper said (PDF), according to his prepared testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
During his live appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clapper testified that "unpredictable instabilities have become the new normal and this trend will continue for the unforeseeable future." He said that infectious diseases like Zika, government instability, and the 60 million displaced people across the globe are adding to the world's instability. But there's more. "Extreme weather, climate change, environmental degradation, rising demand for food and water, poor policy decisions and inadequate infrastructure will magnify this instability," he said.
But "technological innovation," he added, "will have an even more significant impact on our way of life.
"This innovation is central to our economic prosperity but it will bring new security vulnerabilities. The Internet of Things will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited. Artificial intelligence will enable computers to make autonomous decisions about data and physical systems, and potentially disrupt labor markets," Clapper told the Armed Services Committee.
On the other hand there's another side to the equation that needs action from both other branches of government and
companies to come to their senses to stop some of this madness.
When a company like Samsung is forced to append this to some of their TVs product manual:
I have to ask where does it stop? TVs are used in the most prominent places in the house where you have family / private / intimate conversations. When do the guys running a company come to their senses and ask themselves "Why are we even implementing this in the first place if it comes with potential grave consequences to people's privacy in the places where they expect it the most?".
And then there are companies that sell kids' toys that are even worse.
The latest on the news (from today):
Last November, it was reported that children’s toy maker VTech had its Learning Lodge app store database hacked. The breach saw data that included names, e-mail addresses, passwords, mailing addresses and IP addresses being compromised. The attacker also downloaded a large number of photos and chat logs, many involving children.
Now, more than two months after the attack, VTech has relaunched its online app store with some upgraded security features. But cybersecurity experts are condemning the site’s updated terms and conditions that absolve the company of any responsibility should another hack take place.
I sure hope that authorities step in. You can't just have a company wave any responsibility, even in cases of gross negligence.
Why are these toys even allowed to hit the market in the first place? And I don't see any public campaign alerting parents to the dangers of these. Isn't that a recurrent concern of public authorities, at least in the public speech? I'd expect some concrete action. At the very least the imposition of a big warning sticker on the box alerting parents to the risks and that the company assumes no responsibility. I'd like to see how well they'd sell after that.
We really need to get out of the era where the latest and greatest consumer electronics products are seen as something marvellous that can do no wrong as soon as possible and enter the era where they are regarded as just another product / appliance and be judged for what they are.Edited by tpi2007 - 2/11/16 at 9:20am