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The Internet of Things (IoT)—the internetworking of “smart” devices for the purpose of collecting and exchanging data—is developing rapidly. Estimates of the number of IoT devices currently in circulation range from 6.4 to 17.6 billion. By 2020, those numbers could reach upward of 30 billion. While the technology encourages innovation and promotes data-driven policymaking, it also compromises consumer privacy, security, and safety. Consumers are generally unaware that IoT devices transmit scores of personally-identifiable information with only rudimentary security protections in place. For some devices, inadequate security measures unnecessarily risk consumer safety by leaving the devices vulnerable to remote manipulation by third parties.
Whether IoT-connected devices found in a “smart” home should be regulated to ensure appropriate protections for consumers and their data.
The IoT should be regulated but not yet. The industry is still in its infancy and the current political climate is too unstable. Over the next decade, the industry should be closely studied and regulation should be revisited once all of the main risks are assessed.
Directed to the Washington State Office of Privacy and Data Security.
University of Washington Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic
Internet of things
Computer Law | Science and Technology Law
Beth Hutchens, Gavin Keene & David Stieber,
Regulating the Internet of Things: Protecting the "Smart" Home,
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/techclinic/8