De-camouflaging Chameleons: Requiring Transparency for Consumer Protecton in the Internet of Things

Rónán Kennedy

Abstract


Information and communications technology (ICT) and the development of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) provide new and valuable affordances to businesses and consumers. The use of sensors, software, and interconnectivity enable very useful adaptive capabilites. However, the rapid development of so-called ‘smart devices’ means that many everyday items, including software applications, are now impenetrable ‘black boxes’, and their behaviours are not fixed for all tme. They are ‘chameleon devices’, which can be subverted for corporate deceit, surveillance, or computer crime. While aspects of the IoT and privacy have been discussed by other scholars, this paper contributes to the literature by bringing together examples of digital devices being surreptiously diverted to purposes undesired by the consumer, reconceptualising these in the context of Foucauldian governmentality theory, and setting out a variety of proposals for law reform.


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