Innovation and consumer protection in Internet of Things Ecosystems: Protecting end users at the crossroads between consumer, competition, and data
Promovendus: Dr. C. Koolen
Promotor: Mw. Prof.Dr. E. Terryn
Duur: 1/9/2018 - 31/8/2022
Promotie: Leuven, 13/12/2023
The Internet of Things (hereafter: IoT) lies at the center of a new, technological revolution that is currently taking place within our society. The origin of this shock wave can be brought back to tech enterprises desire to connect traditional devices for instance refrigerators, cameras and thermostats to the internet, thereby transforming them into smart devices. In turn, making use of smart devices opens up a wide array of additional functionality that is generally described as the ability to collect and process data from physical events, which in turn enables these devices to undertake particular actions or to take certain decisions, often without human intervention. At present, the tendency to make devices smart is already noticeable in a number of areas: mobile phones come equipped with an impressive array of sensors, watches allow for the tracking of personal health statistics, automated homes are becoming the new standard and even self-driving cars or cashierless stores are no longer a thing of the future. Even though the IoT is currently still in its early adopter stage, its potential for the upcoming decade should not be underestimated. However, at the same time, the IoT is an example of a situation where new things dont fit old paradigms. It becomes apparent that the development of the IoT triggers a wide range of complex issues; issues to which neither EU law nor domestic legislation provides a straightforward answer. In light of this, this project aims (i) to provide an account of what exactly falls under the notion IoT, (ii) to evaluate its contemporary impact and to assess whether there is a need for regulatory intervention and (iii) to put forward a number of recommendations or present a draft framework with the future development of the IoT in mind.