Welcome to the Internet of things. Please check your privacy at the door

Your smart devices are talking about you, and they have a lot to say. This time, opting out may not be an option

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Brave new data

In other words, the shiny sci-fi future that was promised to me as a child is pretty much here, save for the lack of personal jet packs and colonies on Mars. So why does it feel so anticlimactic? Maybe it's the lack of transporter beams and holodecks; maybe I've been spoiled by "Star Trek."

There are of course serious questions about all this stuff, as noted above. But in an era where our elected officials are unable to do anything besides squabble like three-year-olds in a sandbox, it doesn't look like we're going to get very good answers -- at least, legal protections -- any time soon. That leaves our very personal data in the hands of the private sector, which has never met information it didn't want to monetize.

My insurance company would probably like to know how many steps I walk each day, so it can adjust my premiums accordingly. Hollywood would be keenly interested in what I record on my TiVo or watch on Roku, so it can try to persuade me to watch more. On the other hand, my Nest thermostat will likely save me money by being smarter about my energy consumption than I am. A self-driving car is probably a lot better at negotiating in heavy traffic than I am and is not inclined toward road rage when it gets cut off by some moron in an SUV. Thanks to the IoT, I might be healthier, have more money in my pocket, and live a little bit longer.

Invariably there will be people who will claim to reject the IoT outright -- the same ones who brag how they've never used Facebook or Twitter, typically while commenting on blog posts from their mobile devices. Well, good luck with that. Facebook and Twitter are still optional; I'm not so sure about the IoT. Remember, if you're reading this, you're part of it too.

How does the Internet of things affect you? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Welcome to the Internet of things. Please check your privacy at the door," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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