Internet enabled toasters…
As a society we have got used to having internet access on our computers and now on our smartphones and TVs. Would you want it in your toaster as well though?
Now this may sound stupid, but it could happen. There is a movement called the internet of things where lots of devices, perhaps everything electronic, is IP-enabled and can connect to an overarching web. This could be your fridge so that you know when you have run out of milk, or if it has turned to yoghurt and should be thrown out.
It could also be added to your cooker so that you can turn it on as you leave the office in order for it to be up to temperature for you to cook when you get home. And it could be added to your toaster. Now, OK the last one is still far-fetched as even in the minds of science fiction writers there are few, if any, reasons to have your toaster connected to the web, but it could happen.
When you get technologies like this there are immediately two schools of thought. One is the group that sees the benefits and would want to add this functionality to all sorts of things: heating, lighting, their car and so on. The other group just sees the privacy issue and asks, ‘why would we want everything that we own to linked up so that the data can be accumulated?’
As a proponent of the former group, I can see a lot of benefits to having an IP-enabled fridge, cooker, gas and electricity meters, but also that when the technology comes, and it will, there will need to be strong regulation in regards to the data as to who can access it and how it is stored. These security controls need to be added before the technology is implemented and not bolted on afterwards.
After all once the information about just how many slices of toast you have for breakfast is out there, it will stay out there for all to see.