The Internet of Things: A Legal and Professional Minefield

April 28, 2014 – In The News
Law Technology News

Mark G. McCreary was quoted in the Law Technology News article “The Internet of Things: A Legal and Professional Minefield.” While the full text can be found in the April 28, 2014, issue of Law Technology News, a synopsis is noted below.

In just a few years, there will be an Internet of Things (IoT) that connects just about everything on the planet to nearly everything else. An untold number of interconnected devices – everything from smartphones to parking meters to home refrigerators – will be able to swap data with each other.

Regulators are beginning to examine IoT-related privacy and security issues. “Of course, there is always concern related to hackers accessing data through unsecured systems as well and, without standards, that risk increases,” says McCreary. “Criminals will target these devices not because they want the hardware, but rather because they want the data contained on the device or via the corporate network.”

Who’s at fault when an IoT device generates false or misleading data? “We saw this early on with GPS systems driving people into rivers,” McCreary says. “Tort liability from the use or sale of items that are connected to the IoT should not be a significant issue as long as the manufacturers do not misrepresent their products.”

Who owns the information when devices interact with each other and collect vast amounts of data? “The answer to this question will depend upon the usage agreement or opt-in information undertaken when someone starts using a device,” McCreary says. “That being said, any modern example will have the [information] manufacturer owning the data.”

The IoT promises both benefits and risks for lawyers. “In terms of device and data availability, the IoT will make us more efficient in our jobs,” McCreary says. He notes that with the IoT’s help, “evidence can be gathered from devices and cannot be completely destroyed.” The IoT also promises to allow lawyers to share more types of information efficiently and virtually instantly, McCreary says.