Who Let the Watchdogs Out? We’re on Location Discussing the Internet of Things (video podcast)

GAO's Watchdog Report Big Bite!Have you ever used a fitness tracker to measure your daily steps? Or adjusted your home thermostat from your phone? If you answered yes, then you’ve experienced the Internet of Things.

If you haven’t heard the term before, the Internet of Things basically refers to how devices, appliances, and vehicles are increasingly designed to capture data and personal information, send it to the internet, and improve efficiency or assist with decision making. Is this a good thing? Are there risks?

In our latest Watchdog Report Big Bite Editionour first video podcast—we’re on location around Washington D.C. discussing our new report on the societal benefits—and potential risks—of the Internet of Things:

Want to get a peek behind the scenes? Check out the photos below and read why we were on the mall, at the Department of Labor, up on our roof, and in our parking garage.

What are some common types of connected devices?

Out on the National Mall, our Chief Technologist Naba Barkakati and the Watchdog Report podcast host Sarah Kaczmarek discussed fitness trackers—an illustrative example of how the Internet of Things operates. They also talked about a wider swath of connected devices, including smart thermostats and jet planes.

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How secure is our personal information?

On the roof of our headquarters building, we met Greg Wilshusen, a director in our Information Technology team, to discuss information security. He explained how consumers, businesses, organizations, and the government need to think about securing and protecting their information while using connected devices.

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Is your car smart?

Dave Wise, a director in our Physical Infrastructure team, and Sarah discussed smart cars in Sarah’s questionably intelligent car. Dave talked about the potential safety benefits from connected cars, as well as the frightening possibility that they could be hacked.

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What are connected communities?

Mark Goldstein, another director in our Physical Infrastructure team, met with Sarah in GAO’s basement parking garage to discuss smart parking lots. He also explained how the Internet of Things can connect communities by embedding smart components in a number of items—for example, smarter street lights that brighten or dim depending on the presence of traffic or pedestrians.

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What will the Internet of Things mean for the workforce?

Oliver Richard, our Chief Economist spoke in front of the Department of Labor’s headquarters building about how the Internet of Things may improve worker efficiency, as well as the possibility of robots and automation eliminating certain jobs.

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To learn more about these potential benefits and risks, check out our new Technology Assessment report.


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