The laws needed to support the Internet of People…

Yesterday I was waiting for a county inspector (he arrived right at the time he said he would and was the nicest person). I was thinking about the IoT concept and wondering if eventually there would beyond the Internet of Bling be the Internet of People. For example the cable company says we will be there between 12-5 which frankly is always a joke. Instead they say we will be there between 12-5 and then the IoT sensor the tech wears tells you not only which order he is going in but when you will have service or repair. IE the internet of people.

IoT wearable gives the option of the IoP or Internet of people. There have been applications over the past couple of years that have qualified notifications. That means that if you are running late it only notifies the peo0ple in your next meeting that you are late. The IoP would be a sensor designed to connect to your cellular device and notify again only those people that you are running late.

We could argue that is still an IoT solution. It is effectively an IoT offering. But it is applied in a new way. A sensor that knows where you are, a cellular phone and calendar than knows where you are supposed to be integrated so that the people that need to know where you are, know.

Of course there are some serious downsides and there would need to be some new privacy laws enacted that modify the impact of not IoP but also IoT itself.

  • Privacy Law: The whereabouts of a person are the property of that person. No one can infringe upon the publication of that person’s whereabouts in any form. If you hack someone’s calendar and discover where they are supposed to be and then hack the sensor to know where they actually are that would be a crime. Not a slap on the wrist misdemeanor either. There is no way to stalk someone without violating their rights. This law would codify the rights of the person being stalked and create valid and significant legal impact on the stalker.
  • Next on our privacy law changes would be the need to increase the legal ramifications of modifying information and a company as well. Where the individual gets stalked, companies face industrial espionage and of course government intervention. Having a unified set of laws that protect the rights of a company to build and create unique IP and artifacts is critical. We cannot let the Internet become a series of fortified states. The value of that reality is so small that it has to be prevented. If a country intercedes with a company that isn’t based in their country and hasn’t violated international law (has to be international law, if it is the laws of that country those can be quickly changed to make it illegal to innovate without giving the government the IP).
  • Innovation must be protected. Individuals must be protected. Companies and IP must be protected. We a set of agreed upon international laws that will allow this new Internet of People to be maintained regardless of where you are in the world. There will be outliers that do not conform to these laws and the international community has to consider the reality of what to do with that. No government likes Wikileaks. The reality of that site makes governments very nervous. For the most part (at least I hope this is true) they are going after the founder of Wikileaks for suspected child pornography and not the creation of Wikileaks. My gut says in the case of someone creating something that in the end is difficult for governments to accept that should be tried in the world court rather than any one country. Which is the last piece of the law changes. Removing the jurisdiction of governments from people that are developing new IP, as long as that IP does not directly threaten the lives and health of the people in that country. This law would not protect someone perfecting an airborne version of small pox. It would allow Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks) his day in court, it would just be the world court.

The reality of the Internet of people proposal is that effectively it is nearly impossible to legislate morality. This will have to be a managed implementation of universal or global law. If you travel outside the countries that support the law then you don’t take any technology with you. You simply arrive and stay in that country and do not use anything other than the local technology.

It’s the next wave of IoT. How do we in the end protect people using devices to make their lives better from having that used against them by somebody nefarious.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.