The Internet of the Things is not anymore a distant concept but a daily reality. Undoubtedly, the prediction of 20 billion of objects connected by 2020 is impressive, but equally impressive it is the estimation of nearly 5 billion connected right now. And the main driver of this rise of connected object will not be production environments as the Smart Industry, but consumers. Both in the short and long term more than half of the connected objects will be plugged by consumers.
Almost everyday we can read pieces of news regarding new kind of smart objects. For instance, in less than a week The Guardian published an article regarding the impressive growth of the smart toys market and a piece of new about digitalised sex toys. It doesn´t matter if we feel a little bit akward reading this kind texts, we will not be able to stop the introduction of chips and conectivity capabilities in all the object surrounding us. Or were we capable in the past of stopping the disapearance of the TV with cathode ray tube?
So instead of refraining of the regulation intentions for the sake of innovation and ask for a light touch approach, we should encourage governments to explore and develop all the needed regulatory options. As any kind of objects are different, we would certainly need specific regulations for classes of objects instead of general ones. However, we should not overlook the need for transversal rules defining common principles. An example of the former is the US checklist for self-driving cars. Among the latter we can include the "Guide to the ethical design and application of robots and robotic systems" developed by the British Institute for Standards.
Specially important is the regulation of the issues regarding the handling of data privacy and data sharing. Not in vain, both of them were at the top of the US checklist for self-driving cars. The "purpose limitation principle" and the "data minimisation" principles should be at the centre of data regulation for Internet of the Things.
1984 has arrived to our lives more than 30 years later. Not only the TV has surveillance capabilities, but all the objects around. Stopping the Orwell´s nightmare before it takes form depends on the rules we establish today.