Privacy & The Internet of Things: The Importance of Transparency in Accounting for What We Can’t See


By Jessica Groopman, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group

Perhaps the most important lesson the Internet has taught us is that connectivity itself has infinite implications—for good, bad, and most importantly, the unforeseen. We’ve watched digital transform entire industries like publishing, media, music, and retail. As we enter into the next phase of the Internet—the so-called Internet of Things, or more accurately, the digitalization of the physical world through sensors, data and connectivity— the potential for unforeseen implications and unintended consequences skyrockets.

We Can’t Know What We’ve Never Seen

The ratio of unforeseen consequences of data use, aggregation, sharing and targeting eclipses what we can predict. Yet we can illuminate our understanding of this with the following two implications:

  • Connecting things anoints them with context through the data that is inherently created.
  • Connecting things renders the things themselves and the data these things emit vulnerable to threats—to security, privacy and safety.

As the IoT industry grapples with these two competing implications, weighing innovation, opportunity, and potential on the one hand with security, privacy, and safety risks on the other, all constituents involved have a role in helping pave the way. Today we see a dizzying amount of activity and discussion around how to navigate these implications, but we’re in the infancy of this discourse, nevermind its application.


June Spotlight Events – IoT Privacy Summit 2015, Cookie Compliance Webinar, MEF Summit & More!

IoT 2015

  • June 2

Digital Advertising Alliance Summit 2015

New York, NY

TRUSTe is sponsoring this event that brings together DAA Program participants to talk about the latest developments in industry self-regulation. TRUSTe’s VP of Global Sales Patricia Neuray is one of the speakers at this event. TRUSTe CEO Chris Babel will also be present, along with other TRUSTe privacy experts.


  • June 8-11

Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit

National Harbor, MD

TRUSTe exhibiting at this event, which will be attended by Kevin Trilli, TRUSTe’s VP of Product; Dave Deasy, VP of Marketing; Ray Everett, Director of Product Management & Principal Consultant; and Kris Vann, Senior Product Marketing Manager.


  • June 9

TRUSTe Webinar – Cookie Crunch: Are You Compliant?

Online webinar

TRUSTe is hosting this webinar discussing EU Cookie Consent laws and how to comply. Speakers include TRUSTe Sales Engineer Matt Ferrell, and Phil Lee, Partner at Fieldfisher.


Health Privacy in a Connected World – Beneficial or a Privacy Violation?

Leading up to the second annual IoT Privacy Summit on June 17 we’ll be featuring a series of blog posts about the panels and speakers at the upcoming event.

Medical Stethoscope

In the next decade, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) will dramatically change the healthcare landscape and the data that is collected, shared, and stored. New questions and challenges will arise from these new data sources. Looking ahead, organizations and entrepreneurs are turning their focus toward ‘privacy by design’ to address some of these near future IoT challenges.

One such challenge might be gaining consumer trust. In a study by TRUSTe, more than 1 in 4 people mentioned security or privacy concerns related to data collection as a reason why they do not currently own a smart device. But with the proliferation of fitness and health wearables, and the shift toward greater use of technology in the healthcare space, privacy with big data is an important topic to address.

At the 2nd annual IoT Privacy Summit 2015 a panel titled, “Health Privacy in a Fully Connected World: The Loss of Individual Autonomy or Opportunities for Better Health and Quality of Life?” will review case studies from companies that are striving to balance the significant potential for improved health outcomes with data privacy and security concerns. The panel takes places from 10:45-11:30 a.m. at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park during this one-day event.

Speakers on this panel are Hilary Wandall, AVP & CPO of Merck & Co. Inc.; Sharon Anolik, President of Privacy Panacea; and David Glickman, Co-Founder and COO of Lively.

READ ALSO: IoT Privacy Summit: Smart Cities

With more than 40 speakers and 12 sessions, the 2nd Annual IoT Privacy Summit 2015 is expected to be the premier event for anyone working in IoT and/or privacy-related fields.



IoT Privacy Summit: Smart Cities

Leading up to the second annual IoT Privacy Summit on June 17 we’ll be featuring a series of blog posts about the panels and speakers at the upcoming event.


The cities of the future are almost here. Connected technology is not just for wearable devices — it can also be utilized to increase the efficiency of cities and streamline the lives of citizens.

Envisioning a smart city might make you think of modern architecture but connected technology will do so much more than make a city look advanced. Smart water and energy systems will be key in launching a smart city. Smart LED streetlights will provide better energy efficiency. And innovators are currently brainstorming ways the average citizen can connect with and utilize this data to improve their lives.

However, as we move toward the connected cities of the near future it’s important to keep privacy in mind. In one TRUSTe survey about data collection and consumer awareness, only 20% of respondents said they believe the benefits of smart devices outweigh any privacy concern about their personal information. Clearly, consumers need to be assured that their privacy will be respected before the IoT can truly flourish.


IoT Privacy Summit: Self-Regulation & IoT Panel

Leading up to the second annual IoT Privacy Summit on June 17 we’ll be featuring a series of blog posts about the panels and speakers at the upcoming event.

IoT 2015


No one knows for certain the exact impact big data will have on the future of privacy, or how the government might respond to big data’s exponential growth. However, privacy experts and thought leaders can provide some educated insight into what we might be able to expect.

The panel titled, “Can Self-Regulation Meet Privacy Challenges of IoT?” at the upcoming IoT Privacy Summit 2015 at 11:30 a.m. on June 17, will examine the thin line policymakers must walk between protecting consumer privacy and not hindering innovation. For instance, the auto industry’s recently developed Privacy Principles will be discussed in order to explore how self-regulatory rules can strike the right balance between protecting privacy and preserving innovation in the IoT.

Speakers include:

  • Nancy Libin, Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP; former Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer of the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Alex Reynolds, Director and Regulatory Counsel, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
  • Justin Brookman, Director Consumer Privacy, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Hilary Cain, Director Technology & Innovation Policy Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
  • Nithan Sannappa, Senior Attorney, Federal Trade Commission

“Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report on the Internet of Things in which it stated clearly that it did not recommend IoT-specific legislation at this time,” said Nancy Libin,Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP; former Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer of the U.S. Department of Justice, who is speaking on this panel.” Congress appears similarly inclined to allow the market for IoT products and services to unfold before addressing any privacy and security issues through legislation. Current laws provide protection for consumers who adopt IoT products, and if companies incorporate data privacy and security features into their IoT products during development, they may obviate the need for any other regulation in this space in the future.”

Register now for the IoT Privacy Summit 2015.