If you’ve watched national news in the past year or two, you’ve likely heard debates about net neutrality, which is the principle that internet providers should allow access to content regardless of the source and without blocking certain sites.
In the waning days of the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission passed a rule preventing providers such as Comcast and AT&T to monitor each person’s internet browsing history and sell that information to other marketers without their expressed permission.1 Under the Trump administration, Congress has since reversed that ruling.2
This debate is important for both internet users and companies for vastly different reasons. Regardless of the direction this issue takes moving forward, the internet will continue to be an influence in the way we obtain and share information in the future.
As a result, privacy and security concerns are critical, especially with regard to our financial accounts and transactions. The ransomware attack “WannaCryptor,” which affected Great Britain and other countries in May, was an unpleasant reminder of how important it is to keep software programs current by installing updates as they are made available.3
As financial professionals, our priority is keeping a close eye on your finances to help ensure you’re utilizing the optimal products and strategies to work toward your goals. Now more than ever, this requires monitoring the latest technology, because as the world changes, your needs may change with it.
One shift in the tech world is the continued emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT). Companies are projected to spend upward of $5 trillion on the IoT during the next five years.4 These “things” include a wide range of products and services, from “dashboards” – which are information displays that enable users to conduct a multitude of internet transactions via one control center – to “remotes” such as smartphones and connected TVs.5
An interesting component of the IoT is that the more applications are developed, the more vulnerability users are exposed to for security risks.6 From the perspective of a user, whether that’s an individual or a company deploying an enterprise-wide software program, this may pose a financial threat.
However, from an investor’s perspective, the IoT offers a wide variety of opportunities, such as companies that develop sophisticated internet software and others that specialize in IoT safeguard technology.
1 Federal Register. Dec. 2, 2016. “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/02/2016-28006/protecting-the-privacy-of-customers-of-broadband-and-other-telecommunications-services. Accessed May 19, 2017.
2 Tali Arbel. Associated Press. March 29, 2017. “AP Explains: What the death of broadband privacy rules means.” https://apnews.com/957a0429fbac445b8639f983910be689/ap-explains-what-death-broadband-privacy-rules-means. Accessed May 19, 2017.
3 Josephine Wolff. Slate. May 12, 2017. “The Malware Attacking the U.K.’s National Health Service Could’ve Been Stopped. Here’s Why It Wasn’t.” http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/05/12/the_malware_attacking_the_nhs_could_ve_been_stopped_here_s_why_it_wasn_t.html. Accessed May 19, 2017.
4 Peter Newman. Business Insider. Jan. 12, 2017. “The Internet of Things 2017 Report: How the IoT is improving lives to transform the world.” http://www.businessinsider.com/the-internet-of-things-2017-report-2017-1. Accessed May 19, 2017.
5 Andrew Meola. Business Insider. Dec. 19, 2016. “What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?” http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-the-internet-of-things-definition-2016-8?IR=T. Accessed May 19, 2017.
6 Christie Terrill. Forbes. May 16, 2017. “What You Need to Know about Cybersecurity and The Internet of Things.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/christieterrill/2017/05/16/what-you-need-to-know-about-cybersecurity-and-the-internet-of-things/print/. Accessed May 19, 2017.
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Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications