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20545607_m featureBy Gad Elkin

“The next phase of the internet will be focused on information and powered by connectivity. Cloud computing, big data and Internet of Things are tools that support production, education, energy, our cars and more. In order to fully trust this new world without hesitation we need reliability, but when even the German Chancellor’s cellphone isn’t secure that trust can’t be taken for granted.” This according to Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, in the recent CeBIT conference in Germany.

Unsurprisingly, the outing of the NSA’s digital activities by Snowden undermined the public’s perception of how secure is personal information online. Truth be told we’re all used to breaches of privacy by now, such as reading newspaper reports about intelligence agencies and government organizations that sniff out personal information. Do we care enough about our privacy to actually change our online behavior? Internet of Things may lead to more parts of our lives becoming online game pieces, and there’s no escaping this fact.

According to a recent Business Insider report the number of devices with an internet connection will reach 9 billion by 2018, compared to 1.9 billion today. Cisco experts stated that the IoT industry will be worth 14.4 trillion dollars by 2022.

iHLS – Israel Homeland Security

Technology giants invest huge sums of money in this field, promising that in the future all our appliances will be connected to the net. At the beginning of the year Google purchased Nest Labs, a developer of a smart thermostats that monitor movement inside the house and set the temperature accordingly. According to recent (June 21) reports Nest will acquire security camera provider Dropcam, another step forward for Google into the field of smart houses.

The rising tide of IoT is unstoppable, and our privacy concerns will be swept away by the importance of the internet in our daily lives. When we think about the government’s power to intervene in this matter, however, we should keep in mind that this power can be used in many ways, some of them quite unsavory. According to a report in The Guardian Vladimir Putin hinted that in order to maintain Russia’s security interests he might develop a separate national internet. A very serious blow to the concept of a World Wide Web – if Russia goes that way, others will follow.

We will be faced with other options that might affect our privacy in the near future. At the same time, considering the fact that we’re not going to use the internet any less in the future, we’ll need others to take a stand for our security. The responsibility for the security of our private information lies in the hands of organizations providing banking services, online purchases and other applications we use to carry out chores in our personal lives and at work. They need to consider who connects to their services, why and from where. Is there any correlation to known patterns of behavior? Is there any proof of fraud or suspicious activities? Context – understanding more about users and implementing a smart security policy – this is what companies will have to deal with in order to maintain their clients’ trust.

The writer is the director of the Israel, Turkey and Greece branch at F5, a provider of application solutions.