From smart watches to autonomous cars: securing consumers’ rights and interests in the era of smart technology and the Internet of Things
The amount of devices being connected to the internet is rapidly growing. This trend, often referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), illustrates how everyday objects such as cars, TVs and wearables are gradually becoming equipped with sensory technology. These sensors enable the device to collect data from physical events and subsequently communicate about this information with other devices or with centralized IT systems via the internet.
The possibilities of IoT technology are nearly endless. The IoT brings not only added convenience to the average consumer’s daily life, it also allows businesses to explore emerging digital business models and offers opportunities to contribute towards environmental sustainability.
Yet, the development of the IoT also triggers various legal issues. Firstly, it is rather difficult to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the notion “IoT”. Secondly, it remains questionable whether the IoT legal framework offers sufficient protection to consumers due to the complex interaction between rules on consumer protection, competition, intellectual property, and data protection.
It is indisputable that the benefits of the IoT should be captured by society as a whole. To that end, this research examines how the aforementioned challenges can be tackled by critically assessing the IoT’s regulatory framework and by providing guideposts for both regulators and innovators.