10 Nightmare Scenarios From the Internet of Things


Stalking 2.0

It's like you're never really alone. alfredoimages/Stockbyte/Thinkstock
It's like you're never really alone. alfredoimages/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

You thought you'd finally gotten rid of him. It had cost you: New e-mail address, new phone, new locked-down social media accounts, boards you dare not post to anymore, even a few lost friends. But the e-mailed nanny cam footage of you tells a different story, as does the voice mocking you over the baby monitor as you open the envelope of photos -- snapshots of you taken all over town. It's like he's tracking your every move ...

If social media gave cyber-stalkers a duck blind from which to snipe, then the Internet of Things offers them all the comforts of a game preserve with a remote-activated hunting rifle. After all, a system of devices that helpfully tracks your interests and activities can, with determination and often surprisingly little effort, be made to serve more nefarious interests as well.

Cell phones, GPS devices in your car, E-ZPasses and license-plate readers log our locations. Loyalty cards and in-store WiFi systems track our shopping activities. Many current home cameras and monitors remain embarrassingly hackable. It's sobering to consider the uber-Orwellian uses to which a stalker, hacker, employer, research company or government agency might put such information [sources: Hardy; Hardy; Hill; Hill].