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4.1 Mobile technology



Unit 4.1 Impact of Mobile technology on privacy – (personal and business)
Unit 4.2 IoT – Technologies enabling the IoT and their impact on society

image Learning outcomes

At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of mobile technology and how it impacts on Privacy (Personal and Business
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and their Impact on society


Mobile Technology has radically changed our personal and social lives and how the business world works. Although these changes have mostly been positive (social networking, navigation, and so on), the security of our personal information is at great risk.

4.1 Mobile technology

In Chapter 3 we learned that a mobile device is any type of handheld computer, for example, tablets, e-readers, global positioning system (GPS) devices, wireless debit/credit card payment terminals and smartphones. These devices are portable, fit in your hand and are powerful enough to do many of the same things you can do with a desktop or laptop computer.

Internet privacy (also called online privacy) is the right of personal privacy in regards to the rearranging, storing, provision to third parties, and display of information relating to you via the internet. In general, the right to be free from secret surveillance and to determine whether, when, how, and to whom, one’s personal or organizational information is to be revealed.



Family and friends have easy access to SMS, text messaging, call, video chat, and apps that allow them to instantly communicate with everyone across the globe. Smartphone cameras allow this ‘selfe’ generation to constantly post pictures of themselves, business related pictures, holiday videos and business related videos etc. via social media.


These devices are integrated with mobile browsers that enable them to access websites anytime and anywhere. A large amount of the total time spent by people on smartphones is used in opening browsers to surf the internet. With easy access to helpful content, learners can have interactive learning through watching education videos, playing education applications and researching topics.


Mobile technology (especially smartphones) provides a source of entertainment. Users can listen to their favorite music, play games, gamble on-line, watch movies and read e-books among other things.


Smartphones can do almost everything with the help of apps. Both individuals and businesses benefit from the use of apps like: photo and video editor, ticket booking, online store, payment system, data analysis, personal assistant, and so on. These services are not restricted to business hours. With Global Positioning System (GPS), people can locate certain addresses and areas all around the world which has helped both individuals and business with communication and especially transportation.


You can do whatever you want without anyone knowing it via a smartphone. You can snap photos of yourself and secure your photo library with a password. You can also send messages to your loved ones without the fear of anyone knowing it. Online transactions can also be done through smartphones.


Smartphones can be expensive, especially high-end phones with great specs and features. This added cost has a negative impact on a family’s and businesses financial budget.


‘Real’ social interaction degrades. People no longer interact with people outside since they spend more time with their smartphones.


Smartphones can be distracting. Applications notify you when there are messages, updates, latest offerings, etc. These interrupt the momentum and can affect your productivity.


Mobile devices (like smartphones) emit radiofrequency energy which can be absorbed by the tissues in the body. Sleep deprivation, damage to your eyes etc. are some of the health issues associated with the use of smartphones. Addiction to games, social media, and so on, also impacts negatively on your health.


Smartphones are widely used in business. Various apps allow you to work on extra workloads which were not even existent before. Your boss can instantly call you even in the middle of the night.


With easy access to information and the internet, people, especially children can see uncensored content including violence, pornographic content, fake news, and so on.


Your smartphone interrupts you with texts, WhatsApp messages, tweets, e-mails, Facebook alerts, and so on. You are being overloaded by social networking Information on a daily basis. This flood of messages and alerts, distracts you to an extent that productivity and efficiency suffers. All networking tools, sites and apps encourage you to share information, but you are not told of the possible negative consequences. You are also unaware of how your information and uploads will be shared. Search engines are built into various social networking tools and apps and privacy settings are defaulted to ‘maximum sharing and visibility’. These settings allow search engines to access data that you have not restricted. Even if you keep your data private, a search engine can still access your networking profile. Anything you say or do in a group environment is immediately public and vulnerable in terms of being shared. Some social engineers can be con artists who pretend to be what they are not in order to benefit themselves (gain access to information, money, and so on). The availability of personal information on social networking sites makes the jobs of social engineers much easier and hence identity theft (stealing and using another persons identity to fraudulently open accounts) is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Although smartphones are made private, there is still security risks and threats everywhere. Hackers are always present and virtual viruses are potent. Smartphones are vulnerable to these threats when you access the internet.

Several other institutions give internet users cause to worry about their personal or corporate privacy online. Government and law enforcement agencies, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), public search engines, and social media gain access to our private data as we interact with them online – and many of them gain from gathering and distributing this information more widely. This might be for political, investigative purposes, as leverage in facilitating criminal activities or as a profit-making tool in sales to third parties.

Mobite technology users often aren’t even aware that by making an online transaction, they may in effect be selling data about themselves to not only the parent company or website they’re dealing with, but their affiliates and supply chain partners, as well. The ease of connecting mobile devices to public free wifi hotspots and always-on networks has compromised personal and corporate privacy online.

image Activity 4.1 Privacy

4.1.1Give ONE word/term for each of the following descriptions. Write only the word/term next to the question number in your homework book.

a.A person’s ability to control how information about them is shared with other people or institutions is referred to as _____

b._____ are used to store data about a user and a user’s preferences in a local file on the user’s hard drive. The website can then read this data and update the website according to the user’s preferences.

c.The goal of the _____ is to make users aware of the way in which websites use cookies.

4.1.2On 21 January 2019, Google was fined R800 000 000 for breaking the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR). Specifically, a French court found Google guilty of not informing users well enough how their personal data will be processed and not asking for legal consent before showing users targeted advertising. Similar lawsuits filed against Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp are still being fought in court.
Based on this scenario, answer the following questions.

a.Do you think it is important to protect your privacy online?

b.Do you think targeted advertisement is a bad or a good thing?

c.Do you think it is a good idea to stop targeted advertisements, even if it significantly decreases the amount of money websites can earn from these advertisements?

d.Do you think the GDPR will help people understand how their data is used?

e.Do you think people should be informed about how their data will be used? Is there a good way to inform people?

f.Do you think the fine against Google was too much or too little. Give reasons to support your answer.

4.2 loT – Technologies enabling the loT and their impact on society

The Internet of Things (loT) consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. IoT refers to the billions of devices around the world that are connected to the internet through sensors or Wi-Fi.


The recent convergence of three technological trends has made the IoT possible:

  • Increasing processing power of embedded platforms: due to the smaller sizes, reduce in cost and reduce in power consumption, general purpose CPU’s have gradually replaced microcontrollers in devices. The transition to CPUs is critical because CPUs can run operating systems that support networking and popular programming languages.
  • Development of smaller OSs and protocol: as the performance of embedded platforms rose, lightweight versions of mainstream operating systems like Windows and Linux displaced embedded operating systems and brought their massive software ecosystems, and large pool of developers, with them.
  • Development of wireless communications: Wi-Fi has gotten faster with each new addition to the 802.11 class of protocols. The connectivity options for low-power devices have also been expanding in the industrial and consumer electronics markets.Impact on society

There are many ways that IoT will affect and benefit society, below are a few examples:

  • Waste management: sensors in a fridge will record anything that is not used so that you can examine the trends and patterns. The less waste the less pollution. Sensors in bins can record the trends and patterns of what can be recycled.
  • Daily commute: Sensors will let you know the shortest route to your work or home; which routes would be the most economical on petrol and if you can rather take public transport. Taxi services for business meetings can be planned according to your calendar and synced with your smartphone.
  • Smart cities: These can include fast and convenient transportation systems, street lighting that switches on or off depending on the amount of natural light and energy-efficient buildings. For example, Barcelona has a citywide WiFi and information network linked to sensors, software and a data analytics platform. This provides the city with smart water technology, automated street lighting, remote-controlled irrigation for parks and fountains, “on-demand” waste pickups, digital bus routes and smart parking meters. This has reduced traffic jams and pollution, as well as water, light and energy usage.
  • Agriculture: Sensors can track microclimates across farms, to monitor temperature changes and humidity levels as perishable goods move from field to warehouse to store. This can extend their shelf life and eliminate waste.
  • Businesses: IoT is used to detect and troubleshoot remote issues, predict maintenance needs, track production line efficiency, monitor devices etc. These directly impact a company’s revenue.
  • Smart water sensors: These sensors monitor the water quality, temperature, pressure, and usage. This data is used by the water company to analyse how customers are using water and to help them be more efficient. Water leak detectors are used to find tiny leaks that can lead to huge water waste.

image Activity 4.2

4.2.1In small groups discuss at least three ways loT impacts society, you can research your answers. Each group presents their findings to the class.

4.2.2Read the following article on the top five predictions of loT in 2019.

5 Internet Of Things Trends Everyone Should Know About

Johannesburg, 15 Feb 2018

2019 will see the Internet of Things (loT) becoming more deeply embedded in our day-to-day lives at home and at work. We may begin to hear the term itself used less frequently – but that’s because it’s moving out of the hype phase and quickly becoming a part of everyday life.

Soon, it will be taken for granted that pretty much any device we own – cars, TVs, watches, kitchen appliances can go online and communicate with each other. In industry too, tools and machinery are increasingly intelligent and connected, generating data that drives efficiency and enables new paradigms such as predictive maintenance to become a reality, rather than a pipe-dream. In fact, it is predicted that by the end of 2019 there will be 26 billion connected devices around the world.

Here are five predictions about how this is likely to play out over the next 12 months as we become increasingly used to the fact that the internet isn’t just something we connect to using computers and smartphones, but virtually anything we can think of:

Businesses will get serious about loT: According to research by Forrester, businesses will lead the surge in IoT adoption in 2019, with 85% of companies implementing or planning IoT deployments this year.

IoT clearly offers huge benefits to businesses: Some examples we have seen in recent years include mannequins that can communicate with customers’ smartphones in retail environments, beaming information about products on display.

Manufacturing, however, is the clear leader when it comes to IoT deployment. Here, throughout 2019, businesses will increasingly see the value in connected machinery that is capable of reporting every detail of its operating parameters and efficiency to other smart, connected devices.

Predictive maintenance is something that has been promised for a while by tech evangelists but is currently only achieved by the biggest players who have invested heavily in IoT for several years now.

With a growing understanding of when these solutions are (or aren’t) useful, these solutions will start to trickle down to smaller organizations, that can be confident that their investments will pay off.

[Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/02/04/5-internet-of-things-trends-everyone-should-know-about/#5a1e747f4b1f, accessed 10 June 2019]

a.Do you agree with each prediction?

b.Explain why you say so.

4.2.3What are your top five predictions for IoT for 2020? For each prediction provide an explanation of its use for society or businesses.

4.2.4Watch the following video on The Ultimate Smart Device: An Intelligent Diaper (or Nappy) https://www.voutube.com/watch?v=sUvnHP7D8Uc.

a.Discuss the benefits of this IoT device.

b.Do you think it is necessary? Explain.

CONSOLIDATION ACTIVITY Chapter 4: Social implications

1.Mention any THREE mobile technologies that make life easier, how they have improved your life, and the danger of using this technology.


2.Mention any THREE mobile technologies that make life easier, how they can improve a business, and the danger of using this technology.


3.Research the following companies and complete the table. Sometimes an app might not have any disadvantages.


4.What is your ultimate smart device, either real or invented. Explain its benefits. Design an advertisement and present your smart device to the class.