Internet of Things Needs It’s Asimov’s Laws of Robotics

I authored this post in 2014 – and heard a very similar idea mentioned last night on the Internet of Things podcast Episode 424 on Trust, AI and the economy drive IoT conversations.

From wikipedia:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Here’s my niave attempt at an equivalent:

  1. A connected device must never be used to collect data with the purpose of injuring a human being. Data may not be hidden from a human being if doing so would result in harm to them.

  2. Personal Data must only be collected with the informed consent of the subject. Informed consent includes disclosure of the intended purpose of the data, and notification of any future change to it.

  3. Individuals can “opt out” of data collection and aggregation at any time for any reason. Existing data can be wiped clean. Exceptions for legal reasons apply.

The trouble with “data rights” is that without data, things become useless. If reserving your rights to data privacy is the equivalent to having the power go out, its not a fair bargain.

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