Caitlin, Karen, David, and Waqar hosted an evening of talks and discussion around the topic of “The Internet of Everything: Friend or Foe?” as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival on 13th April.  This public engagement event, which was hosted at the atmospheric Anatomy Lecture Theatre at Summerhall, featured short talks, lively discussions with the audience, and a demonstration of our Smart Dolls House.

David kicked off proceedings with an introduction to the Internet of Things, highlighting both the benefits it can bring and the potential threats to privacy that allowing children to have a “conversation” with a toy can introduce to the household.

Karen then gave a very engaging talk on the importance accountable governance and  ensuring citizens are central to design of smart city initiatives and Internet of Things devices, excellent highlighting these issues through the use of a recent case involving the manufacturer of a Internet of Things device that was successfully sued due to their collection of intimate data about device users.

Waqar was next up, showing how much information can be inferred about activities within a home just from the data collected by a smart meter.  There were many shocked faces in the audience as Waqar showed how energy companies can not only detect when the kettle is boiled, but even work out which TV channel is being watched, and how that data can be sold on to other companies with your knowledge!

Caitlin then wrapped up the talks with a discussion of the privacy issues that data from Internet of Thing devices introduce, especially as the data is often geolocated and linked to individuals.

We then rolled out the Smart Dolls House, and invited the audience to see what they could learn from the data generated by smart home appliances.  Overall it was an excellent evening, from which we all left feeling a new sense of excitement about the importance our work on the TrustLens project.



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