Researchers develop app letting users opt out of IoT device data collection practices outside the home

  • Mobile apps
  • Friday, 21 Feb 2020

New app gives users the power to control what data is being collected about them by IoT devices in public or private places. — AFP Relaxnews

On Feb 19, researchers at Carnegie Melon's Security and Privacy Institute, CyLab, announced that they've created a mobile app that gives users the power to opt out of public and private data collection practices conducted by IoT connected devices.

As data collection and digital privacy laws become stricter across the world with the implementation of orders like California's Consumer Privacy Act and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation, scientists and cybersecurity specialists have been developing ways for users to protect themselves against unauthorised data collection. Recently, researchers at Carnegie Melon's Security and Privacy Institute (CyLab) created an incredibly powerful tool that anyone can use to keep themselves and their digital information private.

The mobile application developed by those at CyLab, called the Internet of Things Assistant app, can both give users information about the IoT connected devices around them – like public cameras, Bluetooth beacons, or your neighbour's smart doorbell – as well as direct them to where they can opt out of being a data collection subject.

Pointing a phone with the app enabled at an IoT will prompt information about it, like what data it's collecting, how long it stores collected data, and how the data is used. If the device's software offers privacy settings, the app will help users access them and opt out of data collection if they choose.

Likewise, thanks to these researchers who not only created the app but developed an entire cloud-based infrastructure, those who are installing the IoT devices can add information about them via a complementary online portal.

According to CyLab Professor Norman Sadeh,"We've done the work for you. All you need to do is start adding your IoT resources so you can be in compliance with today's privacy laws."

The Internet of Things Assistant app is available as an iOS and Android mobile download. – AFP Relaxnews

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