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September 9, 2015

EU told to adopt informed & explicit consent on IoT laws

techUK: Experts announce end of IoT conferences as “IoT [adoption] travel” speeds up.

By Joao Lima

The European Union legislation on IoT must be based on informed and explicit consent from users, experts told techUK’s audience at Connected Home in London this week.

In a panel headed by Virgin Media, Samsung, Xsilon and CMS Cameron McKenna, specialists discussed data ownership in the connected home and the legislation needed in such environment.

As the IoT becomes more prevalent worldwide, with businesses adopting smart solutions, the industry will gradually drop conferences on the topic.

Aleyne Johnson, head of government relations at Samsung, said: "We are on a travel, reaching for a destination, we will get there and in a few years there will not be IoT conferences because it will be already here."

While that travel continues, the panel agreed that the industry still has not managed to build a safe and efficient connected home network, but "we are getting there", according to Johnson.


In order to get there, panellists consented that more tailored legislation is needed for IoT to become a de facto revolutionary technology.

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Sinead Lynch, senior associate at CMS Cameron McKenna, explained that there are opportunities to bring security and other safety aspects into a governmental regime.

"Technology has moved so quickly but legislation is behind. Explicit consent and formal consent, from individuals on their data; how the data is going to be collected, used, and so on, are some of the fundamental requirements."

As for new EU legislation, Lynch said informed consent is a core part together with explicit consent for sensitive information.

Smart Data

Complementing the legislation debate, Lynch took on how the UK regulates data extracted from smart devices.

"The current regime and for an individual, data needs to be run based on the Data Protection Act currently in place. Informed consent is under the current regime."

From a data protection perspective "we are definitely not there yet", she added.

She added: "Trying to manage and understand data is going to be one of the major tasks. Data that complies with the legislations. We need to understand who is in control. Does the individual have control over its data? Can a user be given control on how its data can be handled/managed?"

Sharing data with service providers or third parties is a long lasting discussion in the industry, leading to data privacy, ownership and rights, like experts said at Hypercat’s summit in London last June.

Following from Lynch’s concerns, Neil Illingworth, head of innovations and advanced technology trials at Virgin Media, showed no preoccupations with how in the future people will look at these data issues.

He said: "For young people struggling to pay their car insurance [for example], they are happy to share that data.

"Younger people are more willing to share data as long as there is some benefit to it."

Standards are not setting IoT back

Building upon the already discussed concerns, the panel was asked about IoT standards and what needs to be done in this space.

Russell Haggar, CEO at Xsilon, put an end to the standards discussion, saying that "standards are not the reason for [the delay of mass adoption of connected home devices and services] in the consumer electronic space, there are loads of them".

"There are more standards than you can shake a stick at."

He concluded by saying that despite the industry still not being in the right place, this "could change quite quickly".

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