Popular discourse would have us believe that the IoT is the greatest boon to humanity since electricity, or the greatest threat to privacy and democracy ever imagined. Unsurprisingly, it is neither; the IoT is evolution not revolution. This talk hosted by UC Berkeley’s Information School and the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity explores various conceptions of the IoT, examines the privacy risks it implies, reviews relevant policy frameworks, and generally tries to deflate some of the hype and alarmism the Internet of Things tends to engender.

Starting from an explanation of the IoT as a set of overlapping technological trends, Dr. Rosner emphasizes the abundance of sensors in connected devices even as they tend towards being unobtrusive. This is likely to result in a runaway collection of personal data, and ultimately an even more dramatic rise in what the custodians and analysts of that data can deduce about our personalities by analyzing different data sets in conjunction. In the face of possible threats to individuals, groups or wider culture, do we take a precautionary attitude to regulation, or wait and see?