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As Internet of Things Collects More and More Data, the Question Is: Who Owns That Information?

A major focus of consumer electronics now is the Internet of Things, but what consumers don't know about data policies around the latest technology trend could hurt them.

As Internet of Things Collects More and More Data, the Question Is: Who Owns That Information?

Indeed, as IoT makes its way into the mainstream -- connecting homes, cars, and thermostats and more -- the data being collected is massive. One attorney is asking a key question in an age where privacy and security are more important than ever: Who owns the data?

The answer is disturbing, said Adam Rendle, a senior associate at Taylor Wessing LLP in the U.K. That's because the answer is no one owns the data. The data does not have property rights.

“The owner of a smart thermostat does not, for example, own the data about how he uses it,” Rendle said in a blog post. “The only thing that is 'ownable' is an aggregation or collection of such data, provided there has been a relevant investment in carrying out that aggregation or collection -- the individual user is very unlikely to have made that investment.”

There are important reasons to work out what collections can be owned and who can own them, according to Rendle. The potential value of mining the data for market intelligence is one consideration, as is the potential for outsiders to exploit it.

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Indeed, as IoT makes its way into the mainstream -- connecting homes, cars, and thermostats and more -- the data being collected is massive. One attorney is asking a key question in an age where privacy and security are more important than ever: Who owns the data?

The answer is disturbing, said Adam Rendle, a senior associate at Taylor Wessing LLP in the U.K. That's because the answer is no one owns the data. The data does not have property rights.

“The owner of a smart thermostat does not, for example, own the data about how he uses it,” Rendle said in a blog post. “The only thing that is 'ownable' is an aggregation or collection of such data, provided there has been a relevant investment in carrying out that aggregation or collection -- the individual user is very unlikely to have made that investment.”

There are important reasons to work out what collections can be owned and who can own them, according to Rendle. The potential value of mining the data for market intelligence is one consideration, as is the potential for outsiders to exploit it.

Read Full Article

As Internet of Things Collects More and More Data, the Question Is: Who Owns That Information?