The Not-So-Hidden Threats of IoT

In a Forbes article posted today, Mike Farley admits his frustration whenever his Netflix stream hiccups and he has to get up and restart his router. A fellow student recently tweeted her pain when her apartment’s WiFi was out for 12 hours. I admit I’ve been just as upset and inconvenienced when both these instances have happened to me. But vignettes like these only illustrate how problematic our dependence on, and assumption of, inter-connectivity will become for us as we continue to adapt our lives to the Internet of Things (IoT).

With our increased dependence on WiFi for a “functional” life, what happens when the WiFi fails? A major topic of Werner Herzog’s latest film, Lo and Behold, is the inevitability of a future natural disaster, specifically an enormous solar flare, wiping out our wireless connectivity. What will we do then?

Applications such as smart energy, smart health, smart farming, security, safety for seniors, and loss prevention (Tozer, Farley) offer amazing opportunities to improve quality of life, conserve energy, and increase output. If large numbers of people adopt these IoT systems into their personal and commercial lives, “business as usual” will be dependent upon the connection being sustained 24/7, especially with such serious applications as health monitors and even, as mentioned by Kate Carruthers, an IoT pacemaker.

Even if the occurrence of Doomsday solar flare is far off, there are other threats to consider. However practical and convenient the IoT might be, the security concerns are quite real, and quite serious.

Consumers are so quick to bypass user agreements without reading them – I am certainly guilty of this – and I think this means we are in for a world of trouble once people start adopting the IoT more and more into daily life. Not only will people be blindly giving companies access to their personal data; many people will continue to freely and knowingly give up privacy, if it means added convenience, or access to the latest and greatest technology. If we are so quick to relinquish our privacy, what does that mean for our future as the applications of IoT just keep growing?

Will we have any privacy left, if in fact we have any at all now? What startled me most about Daniel Tozer’s presentation on data and privacy is that “the law does not require [data controllers] to be ‘hack-proof’”; they just have to have “appropriate technical and organizational safeguards” in place. Hacking is just an expected part of our participation in digital life. That’s unsettling.

Besides the prospect of companies, the government, and other entities knowing way too much about us, there is always the possibility that information will end up in the hands of people never intended to possess it. That’s unsettling.

Humankind’s increasing comfort with, and dependence on, our gadgets has made the Internet of Things an inevitability. There are such great contributions this technology can make in today’s world. But I’m not completely comfortable with the implications if anything goes really, really wrong someday.

 

Resources/Works Cited:

Carruthers, K. (2015, June 26). Welcome to the Internet of Things, by the way privacy is dead [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.infoq.com/presentations/iot-privacy-security

Herzog, W. (Director). (2016). Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World [Motion picture]. Saville Productions.

Farley, M. (2016, September 13). Why the consumer Internet of Things is stalling. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2016/09/13/why-the-consumer-internet-of-things-is-stalling/#6984be762b69

Tozer, D. Internet of Things Conference: Data & Privacy [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtfD9zCruAM

Technology in Careers

This CAP 105 assignment has provided good insight into what tools I’ll need for my ideal PR career. Below is a list of 10 jobs I’m interested in, the required technological/digital skills for the job, and what I can do to gain those skills to become an eligible candidate in my future job search.

  1. Communications Associate for Sabo PR
    • 2-3 years professional experience in public relations or communications; proficient in social media; analytics; basic Adobe Creative Suite skills
    • Before I could be a promising candidate for this job, I would need to learn more about managing social media accounts and the details of analytics. I would also need to build my skills with Adobe Creative Suite. While I have some experience with each of these areas, I need to build experience and confidence before I could apply for this position. I can gain these skills and experiences through the opportunities in CAP 105, seeking out knowledge on my own, and growing these skills through an internship.
  2. Associate Social Media Community Manager for Ignite Social Media
    • Social channel management (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs, YouTube, etc.); Social media marketing
    • I need to gain experience managing social channels for brands. I am especially unfamiliar with Google+ and YouTube as a channel user. I can gain social channel management/marketing skills and experience through the opportunities in CAP 105, seeking out knowledge on my own, and growing these skills through an internship.
  3. Communications Specialist, Marketing for Marquette General Hospital – UP Health System
    • Proficient in Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, social media, and website development
    • To be a good candidate for this position, I need to build my skills and experience with Adobe programs, social media platforms, and website development to the level of “proficient.” I’d say I’m currently at a beginner to intermediate level in these areas. I can gain experience in these areas by engaging with opportunities through CAP 105, learning on my own, and growing these skills through an internship. I currently work on my partner’s websites through SquareSpace, so I can learn more about that on my own while learning about WordPress through CAP 105 to diversify my knowledge in website management.
  4. Public Relations Manager for Hahn Public
    • 2-6 years communications/public relations experience; social media skills; Apple hardware; Microsoft Office; Adobe
    • To be considered a candidate for this position, I would need to gain more experience using social media on behalf of others, increase my knowledge of Adobe programs, and become more comfortable with Apple hardware, as I’m still much more comfortable working on a PC vs. a Mac. Since CAP 105 meets in a Mac lab, I’ll have the opportunity to get acclimated with the Mac computer. CAP 105 will also help me gain experience with Adobe programs and social media, but I can also seek out ways to gain these skills on my own or through a future internship.
  5. Manager, Communications and Programs for the U.S. Forest Service
    • >3 years experience in mixed-media communications; strong working knowledge of computer programs, including Microsoft Office; experience in web publishing, social media content management, and publisher software
    • I need to gain experience in web publishing, social media content management, and publisher software to be a candidate for this job. I can gain this experience by building my CAP 105 blog, increasing my social media presence and use, and seeking out resources to learn more on my own. I also hope to use and build this knowledge in a future internship to help increase my experience and skills.
  6. Proofreader/Associate Editor for GlynnDevins
    • Experience with diverse digital and print communications; content development for community blog posts, email event reminders, web stories
    • I am especially interested in using my proofreading and editing skills in my career. Before I could effectively proofread or edit many of these types of writing, and prove my ability to do so, I would need to become very comfortable with creating them and have a portfolio of my own work. I can gain this experience through CAP 105 and future CAP courses, my future internship, and seeking resources on my own.
  7. Web Content Writer for Addiction Campuses
    • Experience writing online content
    • Before I could apply for this job, I would want to increase my knowledge of what makes effective content for the web and blogs, and become proficient with SEO and SEM in this effort. I can glean knowledge for our upcoming discussions in CAP 105, seek more information through resources on the web, and practice these skills through my CAP 105 blog and my future internship.
  8. Office & Social Media Assistant for Èlan Event Planning & Design
    • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite; experience with analytical tools and market research; graphic design skills (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign)
    • I fall short of this position’s requirements in regards to SEO, Google Analytics, market research, and graphic design skills. I need to improve my skills in Photoshop and InDesign, and learn how to use Illustrator. I can gain these needed skills through what we learn in CAP 105, doing my own research on the internet, practicing with design on my own, and applying what I learn in a future internship.
  9. Writer and Communications Manager for Code for America
    • >3-5 years of experience in communications, journalism, marketing, or public relations; HTML; experience with marketing e-mails; experience with listservs and social media
    • To be an eligible candidate for this position, I would need to increase my knowledge of HTML from what I learned and used 10 years ago, and have subsequently forgotten. I would also need to become more comfortable using e-mail marketing technology and social media channels for a business entity. I can gain these skills by engaging with learning resources outside of my classes, and practicing with my knowledge through a potential internship.
  10. Corporate Communications Coordinator for Michigan Blood
    • >5 years marketing/communications experience; “strong social media track record”; Adobe InDesign experience a plus.
    • To be eligible for this job, I would need to build my social media “track record” and become more proficient in InDesign to increase my chances of being considered. I can do both by taking what I learn in CAP 105 and building an InDesign portfolio and my social media presence to show my ability. I also hope to be able to build both skills through a future internship.

I know that by starting NOW in investing in my skills and learning opportunities, I can begin building my “years of experience” toward qualifying for a future job similar to the ones on this list.

Brand Yourself Pre-test

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It is important to manage your online brand for a few reasons. First, you want to be found by potential employers, or others who may want to connect with you. Second, you want what people might find attached to your name to be accurate — meaning it’s actually tied to you, and not someone else. Finally, it’s important to manage your online brand so that any potentially damaging content on the internet does not negatively impact you.

My brand score is a C. I suspect this is because I don’t have much of a social media presence, and I have inactive accounts on websites that I don’t want to be connected with anymore.