The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to revolutionize several sectors and we are already witnessing its presence around us. But this growing ubiquity of IoT also comes with a threat of privacy and security for youngsters. A number of innovations are currently underway that are aimed specifically at how children can explore and function with IoT connected devices while staying within privacy limits.
One such privacy scheme is the creation of BBC Micro:Bit, developed by the scientists at the Lancaster University. BBC Micro:Bit is a micro controller that has built-in sensors such as Bluetooth, accelerometer, and compass that allows the connectivity with sensors of external devices. This ethical approach primarily focuses on restricting specific functions including disabling internet connectivity, barring radio communications, and providing strength to security pertaining to Bluetooth pairing.
Working in collaboration with NSPCC, the developers of Micro:Bit are aiming to explore aforementioned issues via their year-long projected called “Child Proofing the Internet of Things.” The project has gained funding from EPSRC through the PETRAS IoT Hub.
There are three main targets of the researchers, viz. to discover potential privacy and security challenges while youngsters use IoT devices, detect which design and programming tools are required for enhanced protection, and formulate a guideline for children and their families.
According to Dr. Bran Knowles, the demand for computer literacy is radically increasing among the future generation and most of them will have a lot better range of core programming skills. Hence, his team is working in association with child protection experts to provide a rich knowledge of implications that may arise with increased usage of IoT.