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The Customer is [Away from Home]

At its inception, the Internet was never meant to have the capacity for household devices logging on; it was only ever used for record keeping and academic purposes. Today, a myriad of technological devices, ranging from sensors to smart cooking appliances, are being developed to connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi and other network protocols, with companies like Apple and Google leading the parade.

However, interconnectability has its own unique requirements. Our understanding of privacy, for instance, will have to change dramatically. Google’s purchase of the Nest self-programmable thermostat (as well as the recent announcement of Brillo) shows that this fortress of information will now be grabbing that data directly from our homes and daily rituals, as well as from our internet searches. Yet, as creepy as this may sound, much of the information gathered is harmless, but only if the company is transparent about its techniques. This requires that companies cannot simply be a far-off entity anymore: they must actively communicate with their customers to give them control over privacy options and notification settings.

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