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Regulating the 'Internet of Things'

Joe Mont | May 6, 2014

Despite its rather inelegant name, the “Internet of Things” is revolutionizing the business world and presenting regulators with some weighty challenges.

The “things” in question are consumer products that can share data over the Internet– from automobiles to thermostats, dishwashers to slow cookers, pacemakers to insulin pumps. The benefits to consumers include convenience and efficiency; the perk for companies is a treasure trove of once nearly-impossible-to-acquire data on product usage and the habits of consumers themselves.

The threat: Data has broken free from the confines of computers and mobile devices, making it hard for pretty much anyone to control what is collected, how it is aggregated, and how it can be used. With regulators already struggling to keep order on the gathering of online consumer data, the Internet of Things threatens to make the Wild West of Internet data gathering that much wilder.

While regulators in the United States and abroad...

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