Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Internet of Things that can't be brought into the room

Tech is supposed to connect us, but sometimes people worry that it connects us too well.

Years ago, you couldn't bring a smartphone into the San Bernardino County courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga. Presumably a whole bunch of lawyers had to go out and buy "feature phones" (i.e., dumbphones) so that they could get their work done. Eventually, the courthouse relaxed this restriction.

Years ago, you couldn't wear Google Glass in Shotwell's Bar. (But you could bring smartphones in, which could do the same thing.) Eventually, the market relaxed this restriction when Google Glass went bye-bye.

Now, if you're a tech-weenie who wants to join the Cabinet in the United Kingdom (motto: Europe sucks but please like us Europe), you may have to make a change in your life:

Under David Cameron, several cabinet ministers wore the smart watches, including Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary.

However, under Theresa May ministers have been barred from wearing them amid concerns that they could be used by hackers as listening devices.

Again, one wonders why the Cabinet is only banning smartwatches. (Actually, it appears that they're only banning APPLE smartwatches.)

By Justin14 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If they're so concerned about security, what about the possibility of hacking the mic on a smartphone? Or killing someone by hacking a pacemaker?

All of these things are possible, but that does not mean that they're highly probable.

Is the threat of hacking an Apple Watch truly as great as some fear, or is the UK Cabinet being ridiculously overcautious?

Of course, this may depend upon whether or not you work for Apple or benefit from Apple. Somehow I bet that the Irish government isn't going to ban Apple Watches in government meetings any time soon.
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