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Monday, 12 March 2018

Quintain and Samsung in Wembley

Martin Francis has pointed to a deal apparently concluded by Quintain and Samsung in Wembley to supply rented housing with entirely rented and digitally enabled hardware (via a company called Tipi).  The source he quotes doesn't mention the cost of all this. 

What does strike me though is the sheer level of surveillance involved.  The users of these flats (I don't whether tenants is an appropriate word) will have no privacy at all.  The entire space will be kitted out with Samsung's devices so that Samsung will be able to monitor everyone in the space 24 hours a day.  None of our current privacy legislation is geared up for the Internet of things on this kind of scale and one wonders who will own the data, whether it will be sold on and whether it will be secure.

If the information gathered is sold on it might be used to predict peoples' behaviour to an unprecedented extent.  Already data is routinely aggregated and used for marketing purposes to target marketing and the tools used for this will become more sophisticated over time, but the Quintain/Samsung development threatens a position where literally everything you do is monitored 24/7, going well beyond anything George Orwell imagined. 

Chi Onwuroh MP has been somewhat luridly highlighting the implications of this already. 

she focuses not just on what might be legal, but also how criminals might exploit it.  Aside from the particular dangers she points to, one can easily imagine more old fashioned problems.  Knowing exactly who is where would certainly help burglars plan their operations for example. 

It really needs to be addressed by the government. 

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