Companies have more data than ever before, but as more connected devices come online the responsibility of agencies and brands to protect that data increases. Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Federal Trade Commission chair Edith Ramirez called the amounts of data being collected "risky," and warned that leaving a digital trail could do more harm than good.
"Connected devices that provide increased convenience and improve health services are also collecting, transmitting, storing, and often sharing vast amounts of consumer data, some of it highly personal, thereby creating a number of privacy risks," Ramirez said.
Ramirez went on to talk about the digital trail created through the ubiquitous collection of personal information, habits, location, and physical condition over time. The data will provide the DNA of a person when patched together.
The Internet of Things revolution will see manufacturers packing consumer devices with sensors that collect data to target better ads. "The introduction of sensors and devices into currently intimate spaces – like our homes, cars, and even our bodies – poses particular challenges and increases the sensitivity of the data that is being collected," she said. "Connected devices are effectively allowing companies to digitally monitor our otherwise private activities."
During CES, companies showed a ton of innovative technologies, from Intel's button-size wearables and holograms, to General Motor's At YourService OnStar program -- but data became the real star of the show.
Automobile manufacturers will help drive the data train. Ford plans to develop applications that can work across multiple transportation systems using data, Ford CEO Mark Fields explained in a keynote at CES. And GE will collaborate with OnStar to collect data and deliver coupons and discounts to local stores.
And here's a new spin on driver distraction. Some automakers want to project data and Facebook posts on windshields.