IoT News Roundup

Study says American manufactures need to up their IoT game; Miami Heat players wearing wearables; researchers exploit security holes in IP video camera; IoT will aid government spies, says report; KotahiNet launches low-power network in New Zealand; McObject upgrades database-management software.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Berkman Center Calls the IoT a Surveillance Boon to Government Watchers

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University has issued a report, available here that analyzes the "going dark debate"—that is, how and whether the movements that tech firms, such as Apple and Google, are making toward end-to-end encryption of data transmitted over certain software applications impedes the government's surveillance programs.

The authors write: "The U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities view this trend with varying degrees of alarm, alleging that their interception capabilities are 'going dark.' As they describe it, companies are increasingly adopting technological architectures that inhibit the government's ability to obtain access to communications, even in circumstances that satisfy the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirements. Encryption is the hallmark of these architectures. Government officials are concerned because, without access to communications, they fear they may not be able to prevent terrorist attacks and investigate and prosecute criminal activity."

But tech firms have resisted the government's efforts to get them to provide access to users' data and communication records to law enforcement, saying that doing so would not only erode privacy, but also simply direct terrorists to use other communication mediums.

The report concludes that while some government surveillance efforts are hampered by data encryption, this does not close all doors to such surveillance. The authors write: "Are we really headed to a future in which our ability to effectively surveil criminals and bad actors is impossible? We think not."

This, they says, is because not all companies are likely to establish end-to-end, default encryption practices, and also because the Internet of Things is only adding more surveillance tools to a government's quiver. "The still images, video, and audio captured by these devices may enable real-time intercept and recording with after-the-fact access. Thus an inability to monitor an encrypted channel could be mitigated by the ability to monitor from afar a person through a different channel," they conclude.

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