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Importance of Ethics in Internet 4.0

What is ethics in IoT ?

The ethics in IoT, or as it is known in its full form, the Internet of Things, refers to a common code of conduct which should be followed and maintained by software and app vendors, corporate organisations and even the government to prevent misuse on the consumers. Due to the widespread reach of IoT, and its usability in all walks of life, with your electronic devices and even your home security, it is necessary that a certain standard of ethics be maintained so that the privacy of the consumers be protected and their data be safe from unscrupulous users.

Ethics in IoT refer to maintaining standard encryption for personal chats and profiles not provided in public, not giving away too much data to third party vendors , and overall protecting the safety and security of the consumer who is accessing via a certain application in an electronic device. It refers in general to maintaining an honourable code of conduct, not breaking any government laws, and not leaking or destroying the privacy of its own consumers.

Ethical Design for IoT

In recent years, ever since the internet evolved to become the Internet of Things, there has been a surging demand to reconsider how privacy and data protection laws are present and how they can be further upgraded from misuse. Most general apps and softwares working with Internet access have hidden fine print where you agree to provide all your personal data provided in the software to third party services. This data is later used by most companies for market research and targeted trends whereby your personal data is utilised to understand what you like and to constantly show you similar things so that you remain a constant consumer. However, in recent years, both Europe and US passed a few laws which reiterated the need for data protection of the consumers by providing an ethical design in the IoT.

This included informed consent, where the consumer should be made fully aware of how the data they provide will be used, and context, that the data provided can only be used in the context it was provided. An ethical design of IoT also is supposed to include that the consumers should have higher control over how much data they are willing to share for the third party. An ethical design includes giving consumers more control over their data and their choices and allow them to have a greater say in developing market trend research, or the information they will use.

Ethics Challenges in IoT

There have been quite a few ethical challenges in IoT regarding the following situations:

  • Owner Identification

As IoT continuously keeps tracking the location of the consumers for data collection, the identification of the owners of the electronic devices and the places they go to could be accessed by pervasive means, leading to loss of privacy and potential danger.

  • Public and Private Border Line

By continuously accessing our personal data, what we search for, our needs and wants, and sharing and selling the data to other apps, the line between what we keep as public and what we like to find in private has been getting blurred.

  • People’s Life Attacks

Due to such breach of privacy and data security, many people have been in danger and have been targeted by stalkers, kidnappers and serial killers often leading to loss of life.

Case Study: Smart Cities

Smart cities will be cities whereby all electronic devices, roadside assistance devices etc will be used to help in better governance of the city. By collecting the data obtained, whether on traffic or on crime, or general statistics of city life and its population, the government can use this data to improve the life of its citizens. Los Angeles and Singapore have been precursors and current smart cities where similar data has been collected to improve the day-to-day life of its people.


Thus, the above article shows that the internet of things(IoT) is here to stay. And the current ethics present still have a lot of modifications to be desired in order to maintain the customers trust. However, in the long run it will definitely help to improve lives and improve our connectivity to the world while maintaining our privacy.



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