Beallagio Notes from a Voice-Enabled Internet Of Things

Casa Jasmina had the chance to join a Mozilla event hosted in the Rockfeller Foundation Center, Bellagio (IT). The Topic of the week was to reimagine a healthier Internet of Things, with a specific focus on voice.  

The group of amazing professionals we had the chance to work with embraced a wide range of points of view, experiences, and lives.HeaderMozillaWe felt – as often said – dwarfes on giants’ shoulders, bringing Casa Jasmina’s experience in the space of connected devices in a home, private environment.

It’s hard to depict all the different facets of such a complex and evolving topic. We tried our best to report back to the audience the state of the open-source environment around the home and voice nowadays, with so many – almost daily/weekly launches around such concepts.

This is our day-to-day discussion in Casa Jasmina lately.

Business and IoT

In the role of representing Casa Jasmina, I had the chance to work with Solana Larsen and Gillian Crampton-Smith on the business side of the IoT domestic appliance

The amount of data we produce is massive, and massively growing. And there are risks and evidence of this data being leveraged as a tool of commercial exploitation and political control. The Cambridge Analytica propaganda campaign for Brexit is just one example of what happens at the nexus of business and politics to use data profiling to gain power.

There are many clean and transparent tools to protect yourself (and that is what we promote that), but we witnessed a bigger problem: there is not a clean view about the ownership this collected data is referred to: the collector? The “author”?

If anonymity becomes a lux, and our choices traded, to what extent is our daily life and point of views not to be sold directly from us individually, or even in consortium? This – a little project and proposal based on simple assumptions about our daily behaviours and facts – is the work I’ve shared with Solana Larsen in our last days of Bellagio. (I have to say I’m honoured to have worked with the editor of the Internet Health Report).

Our Footprint

pihole_dataset

“SmartThings is constantly phoning home” / http://imgur.com/rgUwD9Y Tools like pi-hole or dowse help us realize what is really going on in our networks / mobiles / homes / desktops.

The days in which our experience of the digital and physical worlds were separate are gone: our home is a massive data producer, of our voices, (and soon our smells when we’ll be able to monitor it).

The way we are monitored by different sites / scripts / tools is passive (i.e. we are not aware of it. It’s not mentioned by most of the services doing it, it’s a sort of hidden action). We are using a lot of free tools and services in which we are unwittingly the product of the transaction.  

The idea of an active monitoring (“I know I’m monitored”) and a direct monetization would reposition the user in the center of the transaction.

Michael story of the webcam

Mike Henrty interviews 5 people. It shows them a online store that sells different webcams with similar prices and specifications. One of them has a “privacy champion” tag, which doesn’t get noticed or taken into account as an element for choice.  One of the hypothetical scenarios we journeyed was having the very same store selling a webcam that was being advertised as selling (when setted to its “sell” function) your informations on purpose, and gain money out of it.

2) What we should do

Legal advocacy for data ownership rights – We need think of ways to position the creator (the data laborer?) as the owner of his/her personal data and decider of how it is shared/sold/remixed/resold. A Stock Exchange for Your Personal Data [Gillian]

Multistakeholder process to decide governance framework for ethical trade – We need more thinking on better business models than the ones that have evolved from the flawed online ad industry, data mining, data brokering and invisible transactions that exist today. Information Fiduciaries and the First
Amendment [@katecrawford]

Develop and support tools that enable personal data monitoring and management – If we are to better understand, explain, gauge and manage our data we need mechanisms for measuring across multiple devices, physical location, time and input sources. Dowse, Pi-Hole

Evolve thinking around new business models involving data – We need to support creativity and scholarship around rethinking existing models, especially for IoT and disruptive Internet applications, voice, including data banks, fiduciaries, federated systems, blockchain, etc. Links: voice.mozilla.org, Tangle

At the end of the week we had to give what would have been our effort in trying to change or make this situation better.

Our (this is personal, but also shared with the Casa Jasmina Team) was: we’ll work in testing and developing different tools for a clean transparent digital home, in which different product (both proprietary and close or open-source) can coexist in the good of the inhabitant.

 

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