The IoT provides tremendous value to users by offering convenient solutions that not only save time and money, but can also save lives and help governments allocate resources more efficiently.

The IoT also carries the risk of intrusive monitoring, an unacceptable invasion of privacy and the misuse or unauthorized access to intimately personal information. Detailed information about an individual’s behavior, circumstances, family background and personal attributes may lead to discriminatory practices.

All this newly accessible information will need to be stored somewhere. However, the storage of the data will only be as valuable as the analytics that can be performed on it. The future of IoT is dependent on robust infrastructure including ubiquitous broadband connectivity and sensor based technologies but the question is whether these enabling technologies can keep up with the demand to successfully support the growth of the IoT.

Regulation of the telecommunications industry has, in some cases, not always anticipated the rise of machine-to machine (M2M) communications and does not cater for all aspects of the IoT. In this paper, we have had regard to a variety of interest groups and the issues that may be of most concern to them. We have listed the issues potentially faced by each stakeholder group below.

What is the best way of assigning liability when harm is caused by an IoT device?

The IoT raises a number of regulatory issues that must be counterbalanced with the need to promote and encourage the innovation of the IoT. The EU and US are currently monitoring the emergence of the IoT environment, recognizing that enacting legislation whilst the IoT is in is infancy is premature.

The existing regulatory framework needs careful review to ensure it is best placed to cope with the enormous growth of the IoT that is forecast. The role of industry also needs to be defined to ensure that the overall response to the technological developments strikes the appropriate balance between innovation and consumer protection.