Alexander Tran, ‘The Internet of Things and Potential Remedies in Privacy Tort Law’

The Internet of Things (‘IoT’) is an intriguing digital phenomenon in technology that creates many legal challenges as the world becomes more interconnected through the Internet. By creating a connected system, the IoT links a network of physical objects — like consumer devices — and enables these devices to communicate and exchange data. In the very near future, almost every consumer device, from cars to a coffee mug, will connect through the Internet. The IoT has incredible potential to better society by providing immense amounts of rich sensory data for analytics and other uses. Nevertheless, there are also many latent dangers including privacy violations and security risks.

The legal scholarship surrounding the privacy issues of the IoT is currently underdeveloped for this exciting and frightening digital frontier. In this Note, I add to the legal discussion of privacy law by analyzing the legal repercussions of the IoT and its relationship to privacy tort law. I summarize the foundations of privacy law and current regulations that apply to the IoT before providing my potential solution. In particular, I suggest that two privacy torts, the public disclosure of private facts and intrusion upon seclusion tort, can provide partial civil remedies for consumers harmed by the IoT. Each privacy tort has evolved in different ways since their creation and I will explore their separate advantages and disadvantages. I advocate for the expanded use and revitalization of these privacy torts through judicial application in IoT cases as a potential strategy for regulating the IoT.

Tran, Alexander H, The Internet of Things and Potential Remedies in Privacy Tort Law (March 7, 2016).

First posted 2016-04-26 06:29:02

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