Pay attention to the rules

It’s probably time to start paying attention to the rules. Inspired by the Silicon Valley ethos of moving fast and breaking things, many organizations have been rolling out technology without much concern for existing rules and regulations.

Uber, Airbnb, and the myriad e-scooter startups are on the back foot all over Europe as the state reasserts its authority. Even in the U.S., regulators have started to put their foot down. Tesla is having to reprogram 50,000 vehicles that were intentionally programmed to disrespect stop signs. If the car was driving slowly and couldn’t see anybody else around an intersection, it would ignore the stop sign and continue into the intersection. That’s illegal, but humans do it all the time. It turns out authorities were less than thrilled to see bad human behavior programmed into Tesla’s cars.

We have rules for a reason. Some of them are ridiculous (like the ubiquitous cooking consent), but good citizenship includes adhering to the rules until you can persuade the rule-maker to change them. Don’t be like Tesla.

Beware of Un-updatable Devices

A hundred million IoT devices are open to hacking. It turns out there is a whole slew of flaws in four different basic TCP/IP implementations. Since many IoT devices don’t have auto-update capabililty, and many don’t have updatable firmware at all, all of these devices are simply waiting to be subverted by hackers.

In order news, a startup has produced an autonomous robot that drives around the farmer’s field all by itself, zapping what it considers weeds with lasers. What could possibly go wrong?

If you are deploying any IoT technology, consider carefully how the devices will be updated with new software. Parts of the IoT industry have a sell-and-forget mindset, and that will embed ticking timebombs in your infrastructure.