Following the discussions and conversations surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) at LocWorld28 in Berlin, Louise Donkor and Andrew Gibbons from Welocalize consider some of the global localization and security implications related to IoT.
Our devices are now “intelligent” or defined as “smart” as we become increasingly connected. Although the main aim of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to generally make life easier at work and in the home, we should also be aware of any possible risks and challenges that will always arise with new software and global application. This is especially true as we are now producing huge amounts of data that could potentially be accessed from anywhere in the world.
We all know that with great power comes great responsibility, so with all this information being created and stored, who is responsible for the data and is it private? It’s a discussion and hot debate that impacts all regions around the world.
Data being collected by our devices is the whole essence of IoT. How will consumers be made aware of how much data is being collected, analyzed and stored? Will there be rules and standards that allow people to “opt-out” from data collection? How does that impact IoT?
Welocalize’s Senior Software Engineer, Andrew Gibbons noted, “IoT involves information being passed around, but who ultimately receives and stores the data? For example, if you put a tracking tile (device) on your child, who receives this information? We have to be aware of the security of the channel between the IoT device and the monitoring software.”
Not only is data privacy a concern, it also raises the question of security. Some IoT devices may be prone to malware or hacking. Beyond computers, mobile devices, and applications, some “smart” household items that are subject to these types of security problems include baby monitors, TVs, door locks, appliances and home alarms. A lot of the security will be dependent on consumers taking the responsibility of reducing threats like hacking is because of weak passwords or no encryption.
Manufacturers and providers of IoT devices must invest in multilingual content to help reduce the risk and inform consumers of their responsibilities. This means consumer guides, online help, technical documentation and product information will all require localization to ensure global consumers can take the adequate steps to safeguard themselves from IoT security threats.
Where does language come in? It’s crucial that global language considerations are central to the security as IoT devices. This includes protecting and securing this global data that can be shared in multiple languages and on localized devices around the world.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are designed to protect our data and security. APIs are used when a customer does not mind personal data being shared. They are also able to limit how much information is released. It is extremely important that APIs are localized in order for there to be an efficient sharing of data available for all locales.
Companies are also recognizing the vulnerabilities that come with IoT devices and are taking active steps to prevent any breaches with measures such as advanced malware protection and cloud-based threat analysis. Vital security services such as these will need to be localized in several different languages to make sure that IoT security is global.
IoT developers must also perform frequent updates and security patches to ensure current and up-to-date safety. There is a danger that these updates and patches could only be in the developer’s language (for example Spanish) – if your device is in one of the other thousands of languages in the world, security is not an option. Localization guarantees safety from security breaches for everyone. If A Bug is a Bug in Every Language then it also makes sense that an update should be an update in every language.
Using IoT daily in our lives is in the not too distant future. Issues such as privacy and security are important considerations for all IoT products and services. Global and localization considerations must also be at the forefront of organizational planning, product testing and QA, along with delivery and data security of IoT products and services. To be absolutely confident in using IoT safely and securely, consumers must also educate themselves on the measures put in place to protect us such APIs and using strong passwords.
The amount of data handled by IoT devices is staggering and technologists must consider the multilingual element of security for all the data and devices used all over the world to make our lives better.