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What is the IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that is being used to describe a technocratic vision of the future in which computers and smart phones are no longer the only devices that are connected to the internet but many other everyday objects can also connect to the Net.

According to Matthew Evans, the IoT programme head at techUK, who is quoted in an article on wired.co.uk:

“Simply, the Internet of Things is made up of devices – from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables – connected together,”

In practice, according to Wired reporter Mark Burgess:

Smart toasters, connected rectal thermometers and fitness collars for dogs are just some of the everyday “dumb items” being connected to the web as part of the Internet of Things (IoT).”

If you are wondering why anyone would need a toaster or a rectal thermometer to be capable of being connected to the internet, you’re probably not alone.

There is no necessity for any of these devices to be connected to the internet and potential problems from the attempted creation of an IoT abound.

Risks associated with the IoT include the following:

Risks to Privacy

For example, would you really want to share your rectal temperature with the world?  And would you want your bathroom mirror to be connected to the internet? (See:  http://www.wired.co.uk/article/strangest-internet-of-things-devices)

Some internet capable children’s toys have already been subject to a hacking attack in which the perpetrator gained access to children’s photos and “chat logs”. 

“Smart” internet connected devices could be used intentionally as a means of surveillance of their users and this is already happening with the IoT in its infancy such as the case a man who found out that his “smart” TV is basically an in-house spying device.

(So-called “smart” meters have substantial capabilities to act as surveillance devices, too.  See this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/smart-meter-data-a-goldmine/ )

Risks to Health

So called “smart” devices connected to the IoT must produce pulses of non ionising electromagnetic radiation to connect to the internet. The type electromagnetic radiation that they produce could be radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range, and/or (if the technocrats who want move to a 5G system get their way) non ionising radiation in the millimetre range.  People, animals (and plants) in the vicinity of IoT capable devices will be exposed to increased amount of electromagnetic radiation with potential adverse effects on their health.

Radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave which has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011. Recent animal research has led to a call for this type of non ionising radiation to be reclassified as a proven (Class 1) carcinogen.

This is a concern not only for people who choose to use cellular phones and other devices that produce RFR in the microwave range, but also people who live in close proximity to cellular phone towers as there is evidence of increased cancer risk in people who live close to this sort of wireless infrastructure.

https://www.avaate.org/IMG/pdf/ESTUDIO_BRASIL_BrazilCellTowerStudy.pdf

With regard to millimetre wave radiation, there has been much less research but concern has been raised on the basis of tests on animals that the skin and eyes are particularly vulnerable to damage from this type of non ionising radiation. (Test subjects exposed to millimetre waves have developed changes consistent with the early stages of cataract formation,)

Safety Risks

One of the technologies that is envisioned as being part of the IoT is self driving vehicles. The “low latency”  (i.e. faster speed of data transfer) that should be available in 5G systems is considered to be important for self driving vehicles according to industry experts quoted in this computerworld.co.uk article and this article, also from computerworld.co.uk

Cars that are supposed to be able to drive themselves (or be mostly autonomous) have to date been plagued with problems including horrendous accidents in which car drivers or innocent bystanders have been killed.

(From the photos of crashes of these types of vehicles whether the crash was due to autopilot problems or due to human error, it appears that any fires that occur after a crash are very intense and are reportedly difficult to put out. This may be due to the lithium ion batteries used in these vehicles, especially when the batteries are damaged in the crash.)

In order for any technology to facilitate safe operation of driverless cars, the environment in which these cars would operate would have to be saturated with RFR in the microwave range and/or millimetre wave radiation.  Such an environment would likely not be conducive to human health.

IoT Risks All For Nothing?

As the article at this link reports, according technology company Cisco 75% of IoT projects to date have been  failures,,,

 

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