Samsung decision to process voice commands in its latest Smart TV through cloud server has sparked a new debate on data retention, according to the daily The Register.
According to the term and conditions of the new Smart TV, it is clear that everything said in the presence of the TV range gets transmitted to cloud servers and there are ample chances of abuse and misuse of the thus collected data.
This leads one to understand that anything that uses your net account creates data that may tell others about you. Cloud servers are vital for Internet of Things to work and though it may seem that no one is really interested in about knowing the digital appliances that one has at home, but it may be of interest to revenue collecting agencies, may interest cyber stalkers, and also inform the abusers about one’s presence or absence at home.
Richard Chirgwin, a technology writer at The Register explains how the harmless chats stream sent to a cloud server through digital applications could actually be dangerous. For instance, a smart refrigerator or any other smart app that communicates with the manufacturer may be just a routine communication, but it does inform the cyber criminals that you are affluent enough to buy smart applications, thus making you a possible target of burglary.
It may also alert the revenue collecting agencies, if you have, for some reasons, tried to evade taxes. Additionally, there could be a plethora of other litigations that your home may be exposed to like the family law, copyright, debt recovery and what not.
A hypothetical scenario highlighting the possible abuse of data collected from the Internet of Things is presented here. A net-connected smart home sends “at home” status upstream as one of its several communications. Approximately around the same time the Samsung smart TV suddenly stops communicating with its servers. It will not take too long for a cyber-savvy person to correlate the two metadata obtained from the cloud server and decide whether a person is at home or not.
The difference between data and metadata on the internet is artificial, rather misleading, says the daily. For example, when one sends a tweet saying I am watching TV, the [sending a] tweet becomes the metadata while the information sent across becomes the information. However, when the Samsung TV is communicating with its servers, the metadata contains the information too.
A collection of metadata has been already debated for long; more emphatically since Edward Snowden’s leaks about the classified NSA documents.