Internet of Things Bill of Rights


Having observed ‘social networking’ and the use of cellular location data, along with some small fraction of the shenanigans emanating from our three-letter-friends, I say “What could possibly go wrong?” and go looking for my good hedge trimmers…


I really hope this takes off. I’ve seen 3 or 4 “Internet Bill of Rights” now, and none of them managed to get any traction. It’s a good idea, but granting rights to people in all countries on the internet is harder than it looks, no government has ever taken one of these proposals seriously, and if the government doesn’t care then the whole thing is meaningless. You can’t grant people rights unless you’re willing to defend those rights.

The fine folks in the private sector deserve some ‘praise’ here. Even if you magically kept the feds off people’s backs, (which, apparently, having a section dedicated to precisely that in your bill of rights doesn’t necessarily do…), if somebody suspects that the data collected by your sock drawer can be sold for more money than it costs to collect and store, they’ll do their relentless best to worm their way in. Based on the absolutely sweeping success of Facebook, Google, ‘loyalty card’ systems, and the whole genre of shit-that-phones-home-to-the-mothership-for-no-particularly-good-reason, who would bet against their success, even in a hypothetical world where they have to get clickwrap ‘consent’ for every last morsel?

(And, once they’ve done that, not only are you getting spam mocking the holes in your socks and suggesting some more flattering underwear, the feds can come along and just scoop up the whole database rather than having to go build their own from scratch.)

(And let’s not even think about the fact that ‘The Internet of Things’ is basically a polite way of saying “Hey, SCADA is so easy that it should be a consumer product!” and then ponder the…exciting…field of SCADA related security problems.)

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Really. It has turned out to be too hard to even keep the Constitution’s Bill of Rights so I’m not optimistic about this, even though I love the idea.

Lovely theory but I’d hate to see the mess this would become in the real world.

OTOH I’ve got my own dog that I’m breeding to someday enter this fight but I dont want to approach the issues from the idea of “rights” in the first place.

EDIT: The NYT headline “Minimizing Risk Is Easy” is laughable as well if you understand risk doesnt mean fear but thats probably the fault of the NYT.

Out of curiosity, what sort of theoretical framework do you have in mind?

Something akin to but not exactly the moral/ethical obligations of persons who design things. I realize such ideas are not really popular here and since the work I’m developing is very much in its infancy I dont want to expand on it here at the moment. Sorry I cant offer you more than that.

Fair enough. My curiosity creates no obligation. And, while I wouldn’t put it in ‘moral’ terms, I tend to subscribe (if the posts above didn’t make this clear) to the ‘there are some things that you just can’t safely implement, and pretending otherwise is a triumph of optimism over honesty, at best’ theory when it comes to certain sorts of systems.


What I can clearly say now is that I dislike the idea of “rights” here since that term has been so thoroughly soiled of late to the point where its become a sort of Mad Hatter term meaning whatever the speaker wants it to mean at the time. In the real world rights are entirely dependent on locality and vary drastically. Also things are made either by people or corporations (as general terms) and neither of those are able to grant rights to others on their own in any locality.

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