THIEF IN THE NIGHT: THE INVASIVE NATURE OF HOME INTERNET OF THINGS AND ITS ATTEMPT TO SILENTLY SHIFT RULES OF PERSONAL DATA OWNERSHIP
Celine Melanie A. Dee*
When faced with a choice between privacy and convenience, most individuals often, albeit unwittingly, choose the latter over the former. It appears that privacy is the price individuals are willing to pay for convenience, and history has borne witness to this fact. Despite the absence of privacy, individuals historically embraced (then) novel means of communication on account of the convenience they provided. The 1870s saw a shift from the use of sealed letters to less private but more convenient postcards.1 During the early 20th century, people welcomed shared technology by using telephones with party lines in lieu of individual telephone lines.2 In the present internet age, individuals willingly "partake in the offerings of the internet and participate in what has become one of the most important social spheres."3 Evidently, privacy in the realm of technological innovation is perceived to be far less important than ostensible benefits made available by technology.
The most recent iteration of the choice of convenience over privacy in the realm of communication relates to the Internet of Things (IoT), defined as "a network that connects uniquely identifiable Things to the Internet, [which] have sensing [or] actuation and potential programmability capabilities."4 A beacon of convenience, the IoT allows "billions of digital devices, from smartphones to sensors in homes, cars, and machines of all kinds, [to] communicate with each other to automate tasks and make life better."5 It monitors users’ everyday lives by collecting information,6 and consequently claims to improve said lives through automation by streamlining daily and routine tasks.7It likewise creates possibilities to "improve energy conservation, efficiency, productivity, public safety, health, education and more,"8 thus aiding in the development of "new economic and social opportunities"9 in an interconnected world. The IoT has also disrupted everyday lives by encouraging connectivity through "a variety of cool and mundane objects that people interact with"10 as opposed to interacting with each other.