Good Vibrations : Connections

Earlier this month, Wikileaks claimed (in news we probably all already knew anyway) that MI5 and the CIA developed spyware to turn televisions and smart phones into bugs.

We live in a world where things are increasingly connected.  I was at a conference last year where the Internet Of Things (IoT) and security were two of the subjects open to discussion.  By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world.  That’s quite a lot.  In my notes, which probably aren’t as full as they need to be reading them back now, those 50 billion devices will account for 99% of everything we make.

I’m a bit drawn on IoT.  I think it’s a technology that has absolutely massive potential, and I happen to love my lights at home turning on when I arrive after dark!  I don’t see the need for things like connected kettles, though.

The Security guy at the conference pointed out that everything with an internet connection could be hacked and spoke about a load of smart fridges that were hacked to give up their owners’ Google account details.  Just because it’s a fridge doesn’t mean it can’t somehow give useful information.

So when we’re thinking about devices that don’t really need to be connected to the internet and where information collected by those devices really doesn’t need to be collected, I guess one genre of item would be sex toys.

The rather oxymoronically-named Standard Innovation manufactured the “smart” We-Vibe device which, when partnered with the companion app We-Connect, allowed users (and presumably their partners) to control the vibrator.

At the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, two independent hackers from New Zealand, who go by the handles goldfisk and follower, presented two problems with the device’s connections.  The first was that it could be hacked, allowing anyone within range (and with the inclination) to hijack it.

Potentially worse still, the pair discovered that the app itself was letting the manufacturer discover some very intimate information about users.  The app sends the temperature of the device back to Standard Innovation every minute, and every time the intensity of the vibration changes (to any of the 10+ available – I’ve done my research!), that gets sent back too.

Between those two data points, it’s fairly easy to work out when and how someone is using the vibrator.

For their part, Standard Innovation say they collect the data for market research and “hardware diagnostic” purposes.  Goldfisk noted this, though:

In their privacy policy, [Standard Innovation] say ‘we reserve the right to disclose your personally identifiable information if required to by law’, but what does that actually mean?

Something that starts off as a fairly amusing story does carry some fairly important lessons from a technology perspective.  Considering the use that the manufacturers would get from the data, myself (as a layperson) questions how much benefit they can get from it and whether that’s worth the risk.

IoT is a great thing.  Sometimes, though, do we really need to be quite so connected?

I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations)

Close my eyes, she’s somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She goes with me to a blossom world

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations)

(Ahh)
(Ah, my my, what elation)
I don’t know where but she sends me there
(Oh, my my, what a sensation)
(Oh, my my, what elation)
(Oh, my my, what)

Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’

(Ahh)

Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
(I’m pickin’ up good vibrations) (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations

Good Vibrations by Beach Boys

 

Leave A Comment?