Neal Walters conducts policy research and analysis on issues that affect the financial security of older persons. He has written a variety of reports on matters relating to financial information privacy, identity theft, affordable home utilities, prepaid cards, credit reporting and the subprime mortgage market.

Could Someone Hack Your Car?

My parents taught me to drive safely. Back then that meant wearing my seat belt, paying attention to the road and obeying the posted speed limits. Today things are different. Staying safe while driving also includes protecting your car against hackers. It was headline news last year when a pair of security researchers “playing bad guys” successfully used the Internet to disable a car as it traveled on the highway. The ensuing media coverage proved alarming enough to result in …

Can You Hear Me Now?

Internet-connected devices are rapidly becoming commonplace in our daily lives. Smartphones, tablets, televisions, thermostats, cars, video games and even children’s toys now connect to the Internet. Many connected devices contain embedded microphones and cameras that can collect, send and share audio and video data. This creates concerns about the types of information these devices might be collecting and sharing. What’s more, many of them are “always on” — listening and watching day and night, allowing devices to respond to voice …

Making the Smart Home a Secure Home

After years of waiting, the “smart home” is finally becoming a reality for many consumers. The idea behind the smart home is to help automate routine tasks and make homes more efficient. New products promising to make the lives of consumers better are hitting the shelves daily. Appliances, toothbrushes, lighting, security systems, and heating/cooling equipment controllable by smartphones or computers are now available. One recent study projects the smart home market worldwide will grow from between 100 million and 200 …

The Promise and Pitfalls of Wearable Technology

It’s been almost impossible to avoid the constant stream of media reports discussing the pending release of the Apple Watch. While pundits delve into details about technical specifications and pricing of the watch, it’s easy to overlook the growing trend toward wearable technology (wearables) and the role this technology may play in the lives of those using it. Some will view these devices as expensive gadgets for tech lovers. Others believe this technology can offer important benefits to consumers, particularly …

¿Qué es el ‘internet de las cosas’ y cómo nos afecta?

Hemos escuchado últimamente acerca del “Internet of Things” (IoT, “internet de las cosas”). Generalmente, el debate gira alrededor de temas relacionados con la privacidad de datos y la seguridad cibernética. Entonces, ¿qué es el internet de las cosas y de qué se trata todo el alboroto? El internet de las cosas se refiere a la variedad de dispositivos que pueden comunicarse con las redes externas. Si bien todos nos damos cuenta de que nuestras computadoras y teléfonos inteligentes se conectan …

The Thing About the Internet of Things

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Often, the discussion revolves around issues associated with data privacy and cybersecurity. So what is the IoT and what’s all the fuss about? IoT refers to the ever-expanding array of devices that can communicate to external networks. While we all realize our computers and smartphones are connecting to the outside world, more and more devices such as fitness trackers, cameras, cars and thermostats are doing so as well. …