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Author's profile photo Sandra Moerch-Petersen

How does IoT affect my virtual safety?

Phillip Levis.jpg

Stanford professor Philip Levis was incredibly sharp on the topic of IoT and data security at a presentation he gave at SAP Silicon Valley. Among the topics was technical food for thought on whether data encryption is sufficiently secure in its data streaming processes.

Today our encryptors are compelled to open whatever data is being processed to identify and adequately place it. However, Philip Levis and his team’s research suggest a homomorphic encryption approach that allows computations to be carried out on ciphertext, thus generating an encrypted result, which when decrypted, matches the result of operations performed on the plaintext.

This brought up another key question from the audience – is it at all necessary to have an intermediary? My mind quickly wandered to data integrity and protection, as I started reflecting on the ethics of IoT these days, and how increased connectivity is making everyone an unaware victim of sorts, to not only hacks, but extremely targeted ads and promotions.


After Philip Levis’ competent and technical talk about his team’s efforts in developing the new era of data security, I struck up a conversation with one of my colleagues.

The discussion led to deeper thoughts about data security, and how we unwillingly are affected by its insecurities. In a matter of minutes we had our laptops out, and my colleague was recommending different software to download such as Ghostery that would “disallow” companies to follow my virtual activities.

Ghostery is the coolest thing! As I witnessed Ghostery record 8 different companies attempting to follow my colleague, other questions came to my mind. Do people really want their virtual whereabouts tracked by companies? Is this really a service to consumers? How do we avoid the subtle manipulation driven by “data abuse”?

These are the many thoughts fired up from listening to Philip Levis. Thank you Philip for an inspirational discussion!


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