1st Edition

Internet of Things and the Law Legal Strategies for Consumer-Centric Smart Technologies

By Guido Noto La Diega Copyright 2023
    390 Pages
    by Routledge

    390 Pages
    by Routledge

    Internet of Things and the Law: Legal Strategies for Consumer-Centric Smart Technologies is the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the legal issues in the Internet of Things (IoT). For decades, the decreasing importance of tangible wealth and power – and the increasing significance of their disembodied counterparts – has been the subject of much legal research. For some time now, legal scholars have grappled with how laws drafted for tangible property and predigital ‘offline’ technologies can cope with dematerialisation, digitalisation, and the internet. As dematerialisation continues, this book aims to illuminate the opposite movement: rematerialisation, namely, the return of data, knowledge, and power within a physical ‘smart’ world. This development frames the book’s central question: can the law steer rematerialisation in a human-centric and socially just direction? To answer it, the book focuses on the IoT, the sociotechnological phenomenon that is primarily responsible for this shift. After a thorough analysis of how existing laws can be interpreted to empower IoT end users, Noto La Diega leaves us with the fundamental question of what happens when the law fails us and concludes with a call for collective resistance against ‘smart’ capitalism.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.


    1. IoT Law: Obstacles and Alternatives in the Regulation of a Non-Binary Sociotechnological Phenomenon

    2. The Internet of Spying Sex Toys, Killer Petrol Stations, and Manipulative Toasters: A View of Private Ordering from the Contractual Quagmire

    3. The Internet of Contracts: The Tension between Consumer Contract Laws and IoT Imbalance

    4. The Internet of Vulnerabilities. Tackling Human and Product Vulnerabilities through Noncontractual Consumer Laws

    5. The Internet of Loos, the General Data Protection Regulation, and Digital Dispossession under Surveillance Capitalism

    6. The Internet of Things (You Don’t Own) under Bourgeois Law: An Integrated Tactic to Rebalance Intellectual Property

    Conclusion: When the Law Fails Us: The Commons for a Collectivised and Open IoT


    Professor Guido Noto La Diega (he/they) is an award-winning Scotland-based Sicily-born academic with a passion for law and technology. They hold the first Chair in Intellectual Property and Technology at the University of Stirling, Faculty of Arts and Humanities. At Stirling, Noto La Diega leads the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network SCOTLIN (Scottish Law and Innovation Network); is Deputy Chair of the Faculty’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee; and carries out research at the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance, and Privacy (CRISP). Currently, they are leading the AHRC-DfG-funded international research project ‘From Smart Technologies to Smart Consumer Laws: Comparative Perspectives from Germany and the United Kingdom’, in partnership with the universities of Osnabrück, Warwick, and Bonn. Outside of Stirling, Noto La Diega is Member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on AI and Data in Education and Training, Fellow of the Nexa Center for Internet and Society, Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, and Co-Convenor of the Open Section of the Society of Legal Scholars, the oldest and largest society of law academics in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Noto La Diega’s main expertise is in Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, and blockchain. Their work is animated by the conviction that the law should be pivotal to human-centric, and socially just sustainable technologies.

    ‘Internet of Things and the Law is an impressive work on several levels. It exposes inadequate consumer safeguards in the current “contractual quagmire” and complex, overlapping regulatory regimes governing the IOT. Noto La Diega masterfully analyzes the relevant privacy, intellectual property, telecommunications, competition, and internet laws as he explicates their implications and proposes reforms. But like an artist sweeping away an intricate mandala after he has completed it, Noto La Diega boldly recognizes the limits of law and proposes a utopian horizon for IOT governance based on a deep engagement with studies in political economy and social theory. This book not only advances our understanding of IOT policy but also serves as a model for future work in the law and political economy of technology policy.’

    Professor Frank Pasquale , Brooklyn Law School, author of the bestseller The Black Box Society

    Internet of Things and the Law: Legal Strategies for Consumer-Centric Smart Technologies is a thorough exposition of the regulation of the Internet of Things which starts by expertly defining ‘the Things’ and the regulatory puzzles around them. Keeping the consumer front and centre, the book engages with a broad range of issues starting with ‘Netflix Law, GeoBlocking and the personal/nonpersonal data binary. A strong case is made for a non-binary approach to regulation and for legal approaches, including contract law, consumer law, privacy law and intellectual property law, that mitigate the imbalances and vulnerabilities consumers are exposed to. Ultimately, Nota La Diega argues that the Commons for a Collectivised and Open IoT will take society beyond the limitations of these legal approaches. This is a timely and brilliant addition to scholarship that should inform forward-thinking regulatory approaches.’

    Professor Caroline B Ncube , Professor and SARChI Research Chair in Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development, University of Cape Town

    ‘A wonderfully informative and deeply reflective study of the Internet of Things from a socio-legal perspective, presented to us by one of the leading experts in the field. Dr Guido Noto La Diega convincingly argues for an open IoT and points to some hopeful signs. The book should be read especially by those interested in how European law might effectively regulate an Internet dominated by ‘Things’ and how people acting collectively can harness their power to reshape the future.’

    Professor Megan Richardson, Professor of Law, University of Melbourne, and Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society

    ‘The only comprehensive and thorough legal analysis of IoT available as yet, which beautifully combines technological savvy with an admirable love for polemics’

    Professor Marco Ricolfi , Co-Director of the Nexa Centre for Internet & Society; Professor of Commercial Law, Università degli Studi di Torino; Equity Partner at Weigmann Studio Legale