Each January, the Consumer Electronics Show is held in Las Vegas where approximately 200,000 people from around the globe meet to display and view the newest consumer electronics products from millimeter thick televisions to smart home devices that not only turn on lights but track and order your groceries. This year brought entirely new exhibits focusing on drones that can observe and photograph areas to more personal drones that will revolutionize the way people travel around cities. Connectivity has been the subject for the past several years as cars become more incorporated into this new integrated world of the sharing economy and smart cities where unimaginable services are becoming commonplace. And the autonomous vehicles that will drive themselves and be fetched through your smartphone.
It is hard to realize that the smart cellphone, Apple’s iPhone was only introduced 12 years ago but the impact of this single device has transformed how people shop, live, commute, and communicate. For instance, most car manufacturers offer apps that operate from a user’s smartphone to not only locate the car but to monitor all the systems, upload and display shared calendars, provide information about traffic and weather, reserve parking spaces, order coffee or fast food, notify friends and families of the owner’s whereabouts and estimated time of arrival among just a few items. The car is now becoming even more integrated into the smart home as well. However, with all these wonderful new innovations come other unintended consequences.
The smart phones, cars, appliances, and other devices collect, store, and transmit enormous amounts of information some of which may be quite personal and sensitive. For the recycler, this data poses both challenges and an opportunities. Cars today are basically operated by computers that track your driving patterns and locations. This information is currently used by insurance companies to understand your risk level and what they will charge you. It can also be maliciously used to track your whereabouts such as client meetings or other private meetings, etc. The data can also be used in the case of an accident to determine fault. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Cars also collects much of the information from smartphones including calendars, contacts, notes, documents, emails, texts, and other personal and possibly highly confidential information. And this information is shared among many of other devices.
Data privacy, security, and destruction has become a major public policy issue as data breaches and hacking have exposed sensitive information. All these new devices are collecting more and more data in order to provide new services and conveniences for the consumer which leads to more privacy issues. Recyclers have the opportunity to forge into the data destruction business but will have to accept the responsibilities that come with these new services.