Data in vicinity: Data collected in the presence of an electronic device.

In today’s digital-driven world, just about everything we do creates a data trail that can live forever. Clicking on a website, opening the garage door, adjusting the temperature in our houses, taking a rideshare to the airport, making a dinner reservation, scanning our boarding passes, “liking” a photo, recording a television show, sending a text to a client, making a request into a digital assistant … all create an unwitting data trail. That data is stored, analyzed, brokered, distributed, parsed, combined and attributed to individuals, companies and nation states.

Data propelled us into our hyper-growth, borderline addictive, technology lifestyles and it’s easy to see why. We simply type a request into our smartphone or computer and instantly get our answers or service requested. But this form of user interaction is about to change. Why type and tap your requests when you can just talk? Speaking is easier, faster, and more intimate for users, thus creating our new technology direction. And this new direction is creating a new data set that will once again revolutionize our world. We call this new data set “Data in Vicinity": Data collected in the presence of an electronic device” (e.g., what you say, what you see, where you go and whom you meet).

To understand Data in Vicinity, it is helpful to understand how other types of data are classified. Data created and stored on electronic devices like a computer, server or smartphone is known as Data at Rest. Data in Use is data that is being processed, analyzed, evaluated, parsed or combined. The third type of data is Data in Motion. Data in motion is data moving across voice and data networks– think of active phone calls, text messages, emails, bank transactions or e-commerce transactions taking place.

The next technology wave will be enabled by sensors, thus creating Data in Vicinity in many forms. Sensors like microphones, cameras and RF chips have become so highly miniaturized and affordable that they are increasingly embedded in just about everything around us. These miniaturized sensors analyze our movements, listen to our words and monitor our locations throughout the day. Data collected from these sensors will learn our behaviors and adjust our technology lifestyles accordingly. This quote from Privacy International sums up future data collection nicely:

“The era where we were in control of the data on our own computers has been replaced with devices containing sensors we cannot control, storing data we cannot access, in operating systems we cannot monitor, in environments where our rights are rendered meaningless. Soon the default will shift from us interacting directly with our devices to interacting with devices we have no control over and no knowledge that we are generating data.”

So why even define this new set of data? What’s important to know about it?

In the past, humans created data, primarily by entering requests or intentionally creating something (e.g., a document, spreadsheet, product designs, military plans, corporate guidelines, etc.). As we now look to the technologies that are driving future economic growth, Data in Vicinity sensors will automatically collect human data in the form of movements, words and locations. And just like anything new to the world, some uses of Data in Vicinity will be good and others will be suspect.

The big different in this data shift is this: In the past you could control your data, in the future, you will lose control of what data is shared, collected, and distributed. Losing control of your data could bring some alarming and negative effects to enterprise security and individuals, thus a call for innovative new solutions allowing users to benefit from technology advancements while protecting and controlling the data collected by Data in Vicinity sensors.

For the last four years, Privoro has focused on providing security, privacy and control in an ultra-connected, sensor-driven world. We are committed to helping people, governments and businesses defend against the growing threats of Data in Vicinity and unwarranted data collection. Visit our website to learn more about our smartphone security platform and SafeCase for iPhone today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has since been revised to reflect a change in commonly accepted industry language

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