PART IX ON THE NETPRAETOR.COM OVERVIEW OF THE NINE MAIN CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAVE THE MOST IMPACT ON END USER DATA PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY THROUGH DAILY USE.

With 5G cellular connectivity being rolled out in locations around the world, love it or hate it, 5G is poised to empower the next wave information technology advancements. These advancements are focused on pushing automation forward and will be tied to connected car data and inexpensive home automation system data.  

We are already seeing the current advancements as a foreshadowing of what is to come. Look at any car, truck or SUV built in the last 10 years, which most of us probably own and drive. 

Every time the ignition switch is turned on and a smart phone plugged in, personal data such as location and contacts are being processed and shared.

This is in addition to actual data about your vehicle, such as mileage and maintenance.

Additionally, many people have multiple data producing smart devices installed in homes in addition to the smart phones carried every moment of every day. 

The commonalities concerning privacy and security risks associated with connected car data and inexpensive home automation system data are numerous and will be discussed below.

Ties that bind

You may have an understanding that when your smart phone is with you while at home or away, it’s constantly transmitting and receiving data, most of which revolves around you.   

What many people fail to consider are the inexpensive home automation system data risks and the connected car data risks. You don’t have to live in a mansion or drive a Tesla to be affected by either. 

As mentioned above, if you drive a car manufactured in the last 10 years and have Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, or Google Nest Mini devices installed in your home or thinking about adding them, then this article is for you. 

Depending on your own unique situation, it doesn’t hurt to review the risks associated with connected car data and inexpensive home automation system data. Here are some risks to consider when using these internet of things (IOT) devices. 

I. Location and pattern-of-life data 

In addition to your smart phone, both your car and your home will now give your location away. Combining connected car data and inexpensive home automation data and the location information about you becomes more detailed and precise. 

For example, depending on how a smart home is configured it will identify what room you spend most time in, what time you eat dinner, and when you go to bed. Depending on video capture devices being utilized it may record you and anyone visiting your house while going so far as to conduct facial recognition.

The same goes for connected car data. When you link your smart phone to your car your location for routes and destinations are more accessible.  

Data you are producing and sending out via connected car data and inexpensive home automation data goes beyond just your location. There are additional privacy and security implications which should be considered. 

The personal assistant or hub devices, especially Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are notorious for picking up and recording conversations even when not prompted.

With so many people working from home, having these devices nearby could pose a privacy concern and may want to be considered before important meetings take place. These IOT devices also compile information such as what TV’s and Movies you watch and shopping habits.

After your smart phone is synced with your car it also uploads your contacts, messages, call history, and favorite locations to the vehicle and in some cases to cloud servers as well. 

This may be fine if it’s a car you own and operate. However, what happens when you sync your phone to a rental car or company car? Guess what, that vehicle which you don’t own and operate regulary now has nearly a mirror image of your smart phone.  

For some of us that could be a pretty sobering prospect, especially if you value your privacy. I mention this because in the past I’ve done exactly that and want others to learn from my mistake. 

If the idea of strangers knowing your contacts, phone calls, messages, and frequent locations doesn’t sit well with you then keep reading. Although not without risk of possible compromises, there are ways to employ connected car data and inexpensive home automation data in a safe manner and enjoy the benefits that they do offer. 

II. How to employ connected car data and inexpensive home automation data with reduced risk? 

Now that you are aware of the risks here are many of the benefits that employing connected car data and inexpensive home automation data in your life can offer which revolves around convenience and safety. 

i. Convenience 

It can be helpful to receive alerts that a car needs maintenance prior to a breakdown.

Additioanlly, having the confidence that your home will automatically turn off lights when you leave and automatically turn them on upon arrival is a great feature.

ii. Safety

Depending on where you live you may have seen commercials for General Motors OnStar service which contacts first responders in the event of an airbag deployment and sends them to your location. That is a great potentially life-saving service which connected car data can be used for. 

Additionally, an inexpensive home automation system with security cameras can deter home invasions and alert home owners too suspicious activity while smart smoke and CO2 alarms can automatically alert when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. 

As you can see there are great possibly life-saving benefits to be had by leveraging this technology. The key is to employ it smartly by using only devices that have the best reputations for privacy and security. 

You have read about the increased risks to your personal data concerning location, habits, and security associated with automated homes and connected cars. 

Thankfully though my own experience and research I’ve compiled a list of companies who more than just claim to be privacy and security focused, they put it into practice and act on it. 

Each of these products has earned a NETPRAETOR thumbs up and is broken down by best use case. 

GuardKnox

As I mentioned at the beginning we are on the verge of a new automated era with the advent of 5G and beyond cellular technologies. As self-driving cars become a mass market reality in the next decade, the protection and integrity of their systems will be critical. 

Do you want to drive in a car that gets hacked? GuardKnox is at the forefront of preventing that from happening. If you’re a consumer looking to buy a new Tesla or another automotive brand that has semi-autonomous autopilot capabilities, its worth discussing with the manufacturer if they offer Communication Lockdown technology. If they don’t ask them why. Enough consumers demanding safe and sound next generation vehicles will help to ensure they are built right. 

If you own a small franchise repair shop or auto dealership, ensuring you’re facility has the knowledge and capabilities to service these automotive security technologies could keep your business future-proof and one step ahead of the competition. 

Privacy4Cars

This application addresses the concern I mentioned earlier in the post. What happens when you sell your car or return a rental with your synced smart phone data? 

The Privacy4Cars application allows you too rapidly delete Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from vehicles, such as contact book, phone calls, text messages, navigation history, address history, and garage codes. 

Apple Homekit

At this time Apple HomeKit is the only NETPRAETOR recommended home automation solution. Its not 100% private or 100% secure, however Apple is doing the best job currently at making the most private and most secure inexpensive home automation system on the market.

If you already have an iPhone or iPad it doesn’t take much to start building your kit. I’m providing some affiliate links below to help get you started and keep an eye out for a detailed post on correctly assembeling an Apple HomeKit automation system. 

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K is the foundation to establishing your Apple HomeKit based smart home. Not only will this provide endless TV watching and Movie entertainment, it acts as the critical hub for your entire smart home. Without this (or an iPad / HomePod) your smart home aspirations are not possible.

Lutron Caseta Smart Start Kit

This Lutron Caseta kit will give you the starting point for enabling hardwired smart dimmer switches throughout your entire home. I recommend this over the standard on/off switch starter kit as its more fun to have Siri adjust the light settings rather than just on or off.

Logitec Circle 2 Wired

Logitec Circle 2 is one of the few cameras that integrates with Apple HomeKit. It works with your Apple TV 4K to provide end-to-end zero knowledge encryption of your home video feeds. When setup correctly all video streams that run through Apple Homekit Secure Video will be encrypted by the Apple TV 4K in your house prior to being uploaded to the cloud.

Why live in fear of your footage being hacked or intercepted like Ring device users and other smart home system users do? This is one of main privacy and security advantages Apple brings to the table with HomeKit, elevating themselves way ahead of the competition.

What Does Connected Car Data and Inexpensive Home Automation System Data Have In Common? 

If this is your first time reading a NETPRAETOR post on data privacy and data security, welcome. If you’ve been following along the last 5 months, this concludes the 9 part series of the main information technologies which have the most impact on end user data privacy and data security through daily use. 

Look forward to new posts weekly and feel free to share your feedback in the comments section or let me know if there’s a topic you would like to hear more about.