Privacy and Connected Objects
Our society perennially seeks to multiply its connectivity in the name of greater efficiency. Over the past few years, several devices that had previously been quite basic have been made ‘‘smarter” in order to facilitate a consumer’s life. A recent study highlights that some of the most common reasons for using ‘‘smart” objects are home automation and remote control. Thus, convenience is driving companies, particularly appliance makers, to connect their devices to the internet in order to make them ‘‘smart”. These range from intelligent thermostats, smart fridges, connected pacemakers, smart watches and personal assistants (PAs) such as Alexa, Siri or Cortana, which exist within most devices of their parent companies. While innovation is the engine of the future, one has to wonder whether these recent advancements bring us too close to the Dickian and Orwellian futures we have been warned about for decades. The fear was never that we would get too advanced, since technological advancements are usually inherently positive, but rather that our penchant for an ever-present connection would strip us of our intimacy. The paper explores the privacy concerns that emerge from connected objects. More specifically, it examines how these objects fit within the framework of Quebec’s privacy legislation, as well as Canada’s federal privacy legislation. It also seeks to highlight the current flaws in the application of this framework to connected objects.