Devices can be convenient but could potentially be harmful to personal information

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High-tech devices, like Echo Dots and Alexa, can make life a little more convenient, but there are privacy issues with connecting and sharing devices over the internet. We spoke with Todd Kartchner, Attorney and Chief Privacy Officer with Fennemore Craig, about the internet of things.

Internet of things is, “…the common term, that we’ve come to use for anything, digital, the internet itself. But, internet, commerce, anything that we’re now doing over computers is essentially the internet of things,” Kartchner said.

Your privacy could be at risk, “anytime for example that you order something online, you’re using personal information, credit card information. Sometimes you have to use your social security number. And so depending on how protected your system is and the system of the vendor you’re using, that information could be potentially exposed,” Kartchner said.

Data collecting isn’t new for social media and other apps, “…that was something that came up not too long ago, Facebook. When Mark Zuckerberg went to Congress to account for some of Facebook’s data-mining practices, it became apparent that for example, they were using their participants’ biometric facial data. They’re using your picture your facial data to track, anywhere you come up, whether it’s on Instagram, whether your picture is on a website, and they were tracking your information through that type of system and it was being done without their participants…consent,” Kartchner said.

So, how do we protect ourselves from this type of personal data invasion?

“The first is whether there are laws in place that require that in the first place. As far as the states go there are really only three states in place that have consumer privacy laws that necessarily control or allow a participant or a customer to control what is being done with their data. That’s California and Virginia and Nevada. There are other states including Arizona that are contemplating similar laws…. but beyond that in order for a company to really get a participant’s consent. First of all, they need to be able to explain to them in clear terms what it is they’re using,” Kartchner said.

Another piece of information to note is to, “…make sure you’re using strong passwords. Make sure you’re not using the same password for more than one system…it’s just been trying to be aware of where you’re giving personal information,” Kartchner said.

Todd Kartchner, Attorney & Chief Privacy Officer, Fennemore Craig

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