Data Protection and the Internet of Things. Keynote Address for EuroForum European Data Protection Days

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BRILL J., Data Protection and the Internet of Things. Keynote Address for EuroForum European Data Protection Days, Berlin, Germany, 04.05.2015

Type Article
Topics Business Model, Data Protection


"[T]he Internet of Things, the term that we use for the phenomenon of connecting nearly anything - from cars to clothing to light bulbs - to the Internet [...] will add exponentially to information that we now refer to as big data, making it even bigger."

"More devices in our homes, cars, and even our clothes will mean much more sensitive data will be collected. User interfaces on devices will shrink or disappear, making it more difficult for consumers to know when data is being collected, or to exercise any control. In fact, the Internet will "disappear", as Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt predicts. That is, connectivity will just be part of how things work, as electricity is today."

"[C]onsumer trust in IoT technologies and the companies that collect and use IoT data is critical to its success."

IoT Challenges:

  • data security
  • "the security of many devices themselves will be just as important as security of the data they generate, as we will need to ensure that the functionality of connected cars, pacemakers and other devices are reasonably protected"
  • collection and use of sensitive information
  • a fair and ethical use of the big data that will flow from connected devices (problem of data brokers)

An obstacle to the resolution of most of those challenges is the absence of user interfaces on many devices. The solution proposed by BRILL is the following: "Immersive apps and websites could describe in simple terms the nature of the information being collected and give consumers choices about whether any of this information can be used by entities or persons who fall outside the context in which the consumer is employing the device, and in which the consumer expects her information to remain private. Another promising tool for providing consumer choice is the "command center" that companies are now developing to run multiple household connected devices."