The Trend Towards Privacy: Apple’s Latest Move

So you may have seen the latest Apple launch last night, WWDC 2019. Alongside new iOS updates, computers that look like cheese graters and more, there was one thing that really caught our attention here at Ovon. That’s the launch of “Sign in with Apple”, the latest Apple attempt to protect your privacy (and lock out other companies).

Rather than providing your email address to sign up for services, or logging in with Facebook or Google, Apple will now allow you to sign in with your Apple ID. More interestingly, it will also create throwaway email addresses for you to sign up to those websites where you just don’t want to get spammed with the latest shopping offer every week. This is all backed up by a greater trend towards privacy, restricting app users from using analytics in children’s apps and restricting geolocation data to app developers.

But right now it seems the stage we’re at in home automation is that of voice controlled prompts linking to the other smart items in your house. So saying “Hey Alexa, turn my heating on to control your temperature”, it’s not quite the little wheeled robot butler but it’s a start. What the purpose of these blogs at Ovon is to put a different perspective on what’s out there and show the sort of things we might consider while developing. So this article isn’t going to be a review of all the latest smart home devices. There are lots and CNET/TechRadar etc. can easily help you out with that! Instead here are 3 key things to consider when thinking about if you want to control your home.

So what does this mean for the average consumer?

Well firstly this certainly makes life harder for unscrupulous email marketing resellers, although we would hope GDPR data regulations are already doing that. And you could also argue that these services have existed for a while, through services such as Temp Mail or Guerrilla Mail. But by integrating them directly into consumer’s everyday activities, rather than just for privacy enthusiasts, it certainly has the potential to make people more aware of the value of their own data. It also further highlights the difference in approach between companies where you are the product (i.e. Facebook) and where you pay for the product (Apple). After all, you don’t get anything for free!

Your data has value, even if you don’t realise it.

“Minimising access to unneeded data and secure systems to prevent third-party interference should be at the forefront of an IoT consumer’s mindset”.

So why do we care at Ovon?

Well IoT is a space that is rich in data, much of it personal even if you are unaware. Turning on a lightbulb or heating seems harmless enough, until you realise that this gives potential access to your entire daily routine. When this is linked to an app accessing your phone’s data, the potential for misuse is obvious. Here at Ovon therefore we always design with the consumer in mind, thinking how we would want our own data to be used. Minimising access to unneeded data and secure systems to prevent third-party interference should be at the forefront of an IoT consumer’s mindset.

Apple’s move therefore we see as a positive step forward for tech and IoT in particular, as it yet again raises awareness of the value of data and the need to judge a product by all its attributes, including privacy. Well-designed products, such as the ones we produce, will continue as a result to lead the way over unsecure systems that allow vulnerabilities in people’s smart homes.

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