A number of articles emerging from CES 2019 cited privacy as the major topic of the massive trade show. It’s clearly not surprising – it is an important topic and one every company either manufacturing or employing connected devices must carefully consider and address. With it being the beginning of 2019 and many analysts have posted their predictions for the new year, cyber attacks are expected to increase and therefore privacy may be at greater risk than ever before. But – stepping back from the media frenzy it’s important to ask – “is it” – are we truly entering an unprecedented time and risk with losing our privacy?

A recent article from NBC News stated,

Cybercriminals will begin using trusted devices like smartphones and tablets to try to gain control of [Internet of things] devices via password cracking and exploiting vulnerabilities,” McAfee said in a press release. “This underscores the need for people to ensure they not only have appropriate endpoint protection on all devices but also protection for the home network itself.”

This sounds like a marketing pitch to garner fear to buy new security products. On the “Stay Tuned” podcast I listened to recently with guest,  John Carlin, a cybersecurity expert and chairs the Global Risk and Crisis Management practice group at Morrison Foerster, mentioned how many security risks are caused either by user issues like weak passwords or via email.  Sure, your data can be stolen and no doubt your privacy is invaded but hasn’t this been the case for a long time due to credit report and credit card companies?

The NBC News article continued,

I think privacy is on the forefront of consumer’s minds,” he said. “And Apple trolling everybody kind of put the point out there that ‘hey this is a big deal,’ so a lot of vendors would benefit from talking about their privacy practices and assuaging consumer’s fears.”

I don’t know – sounds like media whipping up some emotions to push a new market into the mainstream while creating unnecessary barriers for truly innovative opportunities. What do you think? Please comment.

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