Report: Ubiquitous data collection is just getting started

Corporations are about to increase the amount of detailed consumer data they collect to an unprecedented level, according to a new report from Intel Security's McAfee Labs.

"Within the next five years, the volume and types of personal information gathered and stored will grow from a person's name, address, phone number, email address, and some purchasing history to include frequently visited locations, 'normal' behaviors, what we eat, watch, and listen to, our weight, blood pressure, prescriptions, sleeping habits, daily schedule, and exercise routine," according to the company's annual threat prediction report, released on Tuesday.

Through wearable devices, subscription music services, "smart televisions" and other Internet-connected devices, the report suggests, global companies will gather data that tracks consumers' every move. It adds that trying to escape from this will be futile, and that the security implications will be enormous.

"This combined information represents the digital exhaust that will become a mainstay and unavoidable by-product of modern life," the authors note. Some entities will siphon it away legitimately, while others, such as nation-states and criminals, will obtain it by any means necessary.

"Because that information will have greater value, we will want to protect and control it. Some will continue taking our data 'legitimately,' by burying the terms in a service agreement for an otherwise innocuous app or service. Others will try to lift it from the cloud, through our devices, or as it crosses the many networks we traverse every day. Others, of course, will want to steal it," the report states.