After the rise of the Internet of Things, the interaction between consumers and smart products has undergone major changes but has also spawned a number of issues worthy of attention. Among them, privacy protection is one of the important topics. Thus, the Department of Consumer Protection, Executive Yuan (hereinafter referred to as the DCP) held a press conference today to tell people how to protect their privacy from leaking out. This was an event in response to the call for “Trusted Smart Products” by the Consumers International (CI) on the World Consumer Rights Day falling on March 15, 2019.
The DCP said that it is normal for people to go online to consume via computers or mobile devices. After the rise of the Internet of Things, more and more smart products (such as wearable smart bracelets (watches), voice-activated assistants, smart TVs, IP cameras and driverless cars) can not only access the Internet, but also receive and send data. At present, there are 23.1 billion sets of smart products in the world, exceeding the total number of human beings by more than three times. The era of smart home is coming soon.
To highlight privacy protection, the DCP invited the National Communications Commission, the Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Telecom Technology Center and the Institute for Information Industry to report the check and inspection results of smart products and the issues thus exposed. In addition, using the mobile phone’s built-in software and home network monitor as examples, the competent authorities explained the inspection standards and counseling plans for the relevant industries. Demonstrated on site was a network camera that had been hacked by a third party. The aim of this demonstration is not only to remind consumers to watch out for privacy exposure, but also to urge the traders to protect consumer privacy when developing new products and providing services.
The main reasons for privacy leaks can be attributed to consumers who lake of proper operational knowledge or without setting up passwords to protect their products. Nevertheless, problems arising from product design should not be underestimated as well. The DCP has offered the following tips to help consumers make smart choices:
I. Search before buying.
II. Make strong passwords.
III. Adjust settings.
IV. Regularly update software.
V. Turn off features you don’t need.