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Who Controls Your IoT Platform?

Nearly every day, it seems there’s more news about how governments, especially in Europe and North America, are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the operations of Chinese-based technology companies.

Some recent examples:

  • New Zealand became the latest nation to ban TikTok on government devices, joining a growing list of countries worldwide.

  • In the United States, President Joe Biden approved a limited TikTok ban in December, prohibiting the use of the Chinese-owned app on federal government devices owned by its agencies.

  • In March, the Biden administration demanded that “the Chinese-owned TikTok be sold” or face a potential full ban in the U.S.

  • In 2022, the British government banned Huawei from its 5G networks and “replaced security equipment provided by Chinese-owned tech companies at offices of key government officials.”

The concerns include that because “China has increasingly blurred the lines between its military and civilian industries,” they could use commercially available semiconductor chips, communications, and other core technologies in ways that threaten the privacy and security of non-Chinese companies and individuals.

What about IoT?

Concern about IoT technology from Chinese companies has been increasing for a while, though it has received less attention than the uneasiness with semiconductor and communications companies.

Charles Parton, a national security analyst and former British diplomat in China, names Chinese-made cellular IoT modules one of the most serious cybersecurity challenges facing Western nations today. He claims that “...the risk posed by the pervasive presence of Chinese cellular IoT modules in our systems and processes poses a greater threat than does relying upon Chinese companies for 5G.”

One of the most extensive analyses on this topic was “The State of IoT Security, 2021 Edition” from Dark Cubed, now part of Celerium, an established leader in providing cybersecurity solutions.

The report’s observations include the following:

  • We have more concerns now than we have ever had related to three key issues (1) the implementation of basic security engineering principles, (2) fatal flaws resulting in the leaking of your most personal moments, and (3) an increased role in the command and control of consumer IoT infrastructure in the United States by Chinese companies, surrogates, subsidiaries, and an array of seemingly deliberately disguised enterprises.

  • If retailers are asking the question “Where are your servers located?” they are completely missing the point. The real issue here is getting visibility and transparency into how the data is used and where it goes once it has been collected. It is plainly obvious here that Tuya is only focused on the image of data staying in the US versus really caring about data privacy and security.

  • Retailers and policy makers must decide if they want to abdicate the IoT market in their country to a foreign power that has shown a propensity to conduct corporate espionage and large-scale intellectual property theft operations. This discussion is made even more serious by recent developments with cybersecurity laws in China, where the Chinese government can demand data from Chinese companies and those companies are forced to comply.

In other words, manufacturers that build their connected devices on an IoT platform from a Chinese company face potential risks ranging from end-user security and privacy violations to having the platform banned outside of China—thereby losing the foundation on which their products are built.

The Ayla IoT platform is your safe choice

Building connected devices to run on the Ayla IoT platform represents a much safer and easier route for manufacturers. Ayla’s solutions are constantly updated with the latest technologies and standards. The platform is built from the ground up with security and privacy in mind.

Whether designing IoT products from scratch or transforming existing products into smart connected devices, manufacturers and retailers can trust the Ayla IoT platform to provide:

  • The full range of technologies needed to rapidly develop high-quality, differentiated, connected products—out of the box.

  • The highest degree of flexibility at the device, cloud, and mobile app levels.

  • The lowest total cost of ownership for smart home product development.

  • Agnostic connectivity with any type of device and connection.

  • Confidence that customer data and device usage are secure and managed by a U.S.-based company under all applicable privacy guidelines and laws—protected from geopolitical risks.

Learn more today about how the Ayla IoT platform—proven, trusted, and from a company based in the United States—can help ensure that your smart home connected products will perform reliably now as well as into the future, even amidst changing technologies and geopolitical conditions.


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