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July 25, 2014

How the Internet of Things supports the big guys

IoT devices present us with a new type of governance.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

The Observer has put together a comprehensive analysis that examines the implications of government if smart homes, smart cars and smart gadgets are setting the limits of human life.

It’s well worth a read, not least because it introduces the idea that such technology could present us with a new type of governance: algorithmic regulation. First coined by Tim O’Reilly, an influential technology publisher, the term depicts a world where we are going to increasingly find ourselves governed by automated software regimes.

Evgeny Morozov, the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom who wrote the article, said: "The telecoms watchdog Ofcom envisions that such smart roads connected to a centrally controlled traffic system could automatically impose variable speed limits to smooth the flow of traffic but also direct the cars "along diverted routes to avoid the congestion and even [manage] their speed."

They could also fight credit card fraud and issue speeding tickets, and be quicker to act and less forgiving than current law enforcement regimes.

It’s a pretty good read and most interestingly says that such systems, however, are likely to maintain a two-tiered system of justice that protects the rich and punishes everyone else.

It explains: "Algorithmic regulation is perfect for enforcing the austerity agenda while leaving those responsible for the fiscal crisis off the hook.

"To understand whether such systems are working as expected, we need to modify [Silicon Valley icon Tim] O’Reilly’s question: for whom are they working? If it’s just the tax-evading plutocrats, the global financial institutions interested in balanced national budgets and the companies developing income-tracking software, then it’s hardly a democratic success."

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