Things in IoT You Need to Know This Week: June 13 – June 17

In this roundup, we explain why the NSA and the aviation industry want in on the IoT.

Brian Buntz

June 15, 2016

3 Min Read
The NSA could be looking at gathering intelligence from the IoT.
iStock / Andrey Sokolov

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NSA Wants to Spy on the IoT

The National Security Agency reportedly is planning to spy on the Internet of Things, reports Engadget. NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett recently acknowledged that the agency is “looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now.” Ledgett seemed undeterred by the potential complexity of gathering data from devices ranging from pacemakers to industrial equipment to pacemakers. “As my job is to penetrate other people's networks, complexity is my friend,” he said. “The first time you update the software, you introduce vulnerabilities, or variables rather. It's a good place to be in a penetration point of view.” He did, however, stress that gaining data from a terrorists’ appliances is not a substitute for gaining access to their conversations.

BMW Planning for a Future without Car Ownership

It’s not often that a company tries to popularize a business model that could cut its sales. But that seems what BMW could be doing with its plans for a future that would make owning a vehicle optional. The company is developing a concept for a self-driving car known as the Mini Vision Next 100 that would pick up passengers, change its color based on passengers’ preferences, and park and recharge without human intervention, explains IndustryWeek

The IoT Could Make Airline Industry More Efficient

The airline industry has pioneered a range of IoT-driven projects, reports Aviation Week, including using tags to track luggage to novel sensors to improve airline maintenance. One enabler of this trend is the fact that ever-more sensors are being deployed in engines and airplane components themselves, which calls for a way to integrate and manage the data from them. A number of companies such as Sitaonair are hoping to break into the space with software designed to glean order from the data chaos. “What is missing today in the industry — and that is our strong vision — is kind of a middleware technology, an IT technology that needs to sit on both the servers on the aircraft and that needs to be much more open from an innovation perspective that bridges between the two,” Sitaonair’s chief executive David Lavorel told Runway Girl Network. “That is something we have been offering more, and we are focusing at this minute on the aircraft management side of things, the operational data, because that is our DNA, our comfort zone.” 

Should the World Adapt to Self-Driving Cars or Should They Adapt to the World?

Techinsider recently explained that there is a debate underway whether cities and infrastructure professionals should begin to install technology to accommodate self-driving cars. Andrew Ng, chief scientists at Chinese search engine firm Baidu said in Wired that it's necessary to make “modest changes to our infrastructure” to get autonomous cars on the road. Brad Templeton, who is advising Google on their driverless car project, disagreed in an interview with Tech Insider. “You don't get to change the world, your car has to adapt to the world it's given,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Brian Buntz

Brian is a veteran journalist with more than ten years’ experience covering an array of technologies including the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, and cybersecurity. Before coming to Penton and later Informa, he served as the editor-in-chief of UBM’s Qmed where he overhauled the brand’s news coverage and helped to grow the site’s traffic volume dramatically. He had previously held managing editor roles on the company’s medical device technology publications including European Medical Device Technology (EMDT) and Medical Device & Diagnostics Industry (MD+DI), and had served as editor-in-chief of Medical Product Manufacturing News (MPMN).

At UBM, Brian also worked closely with the company’s events group on speaker selection and direction and played an important role in cementing famed futurist Ray Kurzweil as a keynote speaker at the 2016 Medical Design & Manufacturing West event in Anaheim. An article of his was also prominently on, a website dedicated to Kurzweil’s ideas.

Multilingual, Brian has an M.A. degree in German from the University of Oklahoma.

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