From smart watches to autonomous cars: securing consumers’ rights and interests in the era of smart technology and the Internet of Things
The number of devices being connected to the internet is growing rapidly. This trend—referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT)—illustrates how everyday objects are gradually turned into smart devices. These smart devices are capable of collecting data from their surroundings and sharing those data over the internet.
The development of the IoT raises several legal questions from a consumer protection perspective. First, the functionality of smart devices challenges consumer autonomy and the average consumer’s ability to make well-informed transactional decisions. Second, concerns remain about consumer choice as consumers experience lock-in effects due to interoperability limitations. Third, consumer privacy is threatened by the data-driven nature of the IoT.
The benefits of the IoT should be captured by society as a whole. To that end, this dissertation examines how the aforementioned challenges can be addressed by critically assessing the intersection between consumer law, competition law, and data privacy law in order to strike an appropriate balance between innovation and consumer protection in IoT ecosystems.