The Internet of People

27 Jul

The internet is no longer about interconnected computers, servers and end users only accessing it for services such as email and YouTube. It is now a large place with many online communities and services that are personalized for the things you are interested in be it football, dancing, singing or giant fighting robots (China accepted the challenge from the US btw). There are people who share similar interests all over the world and the most convenient way they can connect, communicate and share ideas is online via custom built sites.

Most of these require subscriptions with personal accounts which contain your personal details. Some maybe be closed such that only the select few can access it. These require much more than your email and a simple username. You need to submit your mobile number, which they send a confirmatory message, you also need to specify the location you are at, street names and cities etc. then you also include a few social media profiles like your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There are also paid subscription services such as Deezer which require your PayPal account so that you can keep renewing your account to access their vast music database. In such you have to give up your credit card information to PayPal, which I think is a secure service but it surely must have its flaws.

The issue…

It seems like you have to sign up to do everything online now. Even commenting on most sites requires a login of some kind. Whether you are required to use your Facebook, Google or just fill in your name, email and possibly a password, you have to identify yourself. The issue is that you have to give up a lot of personal information to very many different companies to sign up for their services. Each of these has their own server so that is an average of 10+ servers with information that could potentially ruin you in the wrong hands. Like the recent leaked photos of celebrities who had stored them on the popular Apple service iCloud. It is clearly not safe having personal information online but it is almost inevitable to submit such kind of information. In the work place for example, you are required to sign up for services such as Trello, Skype, Gmail and many others so as to collaborate on projects and make communication easier. In your personal life, you have to join Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the lives of the people you care about and to stay in touch with the people you do not get to see every day. It is futile to even think of not having an online account of some kind.

The good news…

It is not all bad news though as companies such as Google and Facebook provide you with an alternative to sign up for the many services out there with the accounts you have with them. I especially like Google because they recently came up with a way to secure your account and keep track of the services you have subscribed to. They provided some kind of dashboard that shows the rights you have allowed certain services and provide you with the option to revoke access to information you do not want them accessing. You now have more control over which information they can access which is a huge step in the right direction. They even send you an email when your account is used to login to a new device or service.

Why you should put a thought to this…

I know most people do not give a second thought to this, I know I did not, but I think it is something we should be very cautious of especially with the internet only set to become larger and widely used in the coming years. Access should also become easier and speeds faster. More services will definitely pop up and with the progress of IoT, more devices with personal identities will go up. The first wave, smartphones, has already picked up. The upcoming era of IoT is upon us. We need to secure our personal information and online profiles by allowing access to those with tight security measures and where we will have access to which kind of information they can access.

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