Tiny Salespeople: Mediated Transactions and the Internet of Things


market manipulation, marketing, Internet, consumer psychology, privacy, big data

Document Type



Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wanted to dramatize how hard GPS surveillance would be for our nation’s founders to envision. It would take a “very tiny constable,” he noted in concurrence with the majority in United States v. Jones, “with incredible fortitude and patience” to stow away on a stage coach and monitor its owner’s movements. Here, I focus on the more plausible prospect of a very tiny salesperson. Specifically, I ask what it would mean for consumers if their everyday objects tried to sell them products and services — an uncomfortably realistic consequence of the “Internet of Things.”