Privacy and Security Implications of the Internet of Things

9 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2013

See all articles by Adam D. Thierer

Adam D. Thierer

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: June 1, 2013


Comments of Adam D. Thierer (Mercatus Center at George Mason University) to the Federal Trade Commission in its proceeding on “the consumer privacy and security issues" associated with the “Internet of Things.”

The filing argues that the Internet of Things -- like the Internet itself -- should not be subjected to a precautionary principle, which would impose preemptive, prophylactic restrictions on this rapidly evolving sector to guard against every theoretical harm that could develop. Preemptive restrictions on the development of the Internet of Things could retard technological innovation and limit the benefits that flow to consumers.

Instead of basing policy on hypothetical fears, policymakers should address harms that develop -- if they do at all -- after careful benefit-cost analysis of various remedies. Many federal and state laws already exist that could address perceived harms associated with these technologies. Moreover, social norms and etiquette will likely evolve to "regulate" these new technologies in other ways.

Keywords: Adaptation, alternatives, assimilation, security, choice, competitiveness, everything, fear, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, innovation, Internet, Mother May I, norms, panic, Permissionless, precautionary principle, preemptive, prices, Privacy, regulation, remedies, technopanic, things

JEL Classification: M3, L86, L88, L5, L2, K13

Suggested Citation

Thierer, Adam D., Privacy and Security Implications of the Internet of Things (June 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Adam D. Thierer (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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