Five ways the cool stuff at CES will ruin your life

There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of a future in which smart devices of every shape and size do our thinking for us. Here are five good reasons the Internet of Things might just make our lives worse.


4) Privacy meltdown
CES is a showcase for all the wonderful things that advancements in technology can do for us, but there's no room on the show floor for discussions of the consequences of that technology: the myriad of ways that it infringes on our privacy and exposes us to heretofore unimagined threats. The media trumpets the ease with which smart phones have become all purpose remote controls - able to lock a door, turn off a light or keep a watchful eye on our teenagers from anywhere. But the same technology can be used to spy on us, just as we would spy ourselves. Cases like that of the British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd have awakened parents to the dangerous avenues that technology like webcams opens into the presumed safety of the home. Expect those avenues to multiply tenfold in the coming years, as much of the Internet-connected gear from CES makes its way into living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. In September, for example, the security firm ReVuln showed how a Linux vulnerability in software that runs Samsung Smart TVs could be used to take control of cameras and microphones attached to the TV -- allowing the TV (and the attacker) to watch the watchers. Similar hacks by researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated how hands-free technology in the driver compartment of automobiles can be used to monitor the conversations of the car's occupants or even force malicious code to onboard systems that can give attackers remote control of the vehicle.

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