The US advocacy group The Future of Privacy Forum in consultation with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Technology Forum published a white paper exploring the benefits, challenges, and privacy tensions concerning IoT and people with disabilities. The paper describes the privacy considerations of IoT for people with disabilities and offers several recommendations for companies and policymakers on how to address the issue. Main recommendations are: prioritising inclusive design for people with disabilities, consideration of the sensitive nature of the personal data of people with disabilities when designing IoT devices, and asking policymakers to consider the risks and benefits of IoT for people with disabilities in policy decisions.
According to UN estimates, there are 1 billion people with disabilities in the world. The factors that contribute to increasing this number include war and destruction by natural as well as human causes; poverty and unhealthy living conditions; and the absence of knowledge about disability, its causes, prevention, and treatment. The Internet provides new possibilities for social inclusion and for safeguarding the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.
Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.