The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next revolution in tech. It promises to take devices and connect them together via the internet. Once these devices live together in a network, they will then be able to communicate to each other, machine-to-machine. This level of complexity introduces a new level of legal risk.

As it is today, if something goes wrong with your appliance then you can report to the manufacturer about the faulty product. The Internet of Things will complicate this straightforward matter. In the future, it may be that all parties involved can be held accountable for a product failure. This includes not only the manufacturer, but the internet service provider, the web hosted servers, etc.

This brings up a related issue, user contracts. Due to the legal complications of connecting smart devices, will manufactures for the users to void their contract if their product is connected? At the heart of this concern is data. What will happen if there is a data or security breach? Products connected via Internet of Things will share data. In the event of an attack, who will be legally responsible for the data breach and the fallout?

“The privacy implications are potentially huge,”says Trey Hanbury , an attorney that was interviewed about the formation of Internet of Things ecosystem.

Juniper Research suggest that the internet of things will lead to a more robust security model precisely for this reason. The ideal model would be able to shut down part of the network where an attack is happening without effecting the devices connected to other parts of the network.

What is clear is that lawyers need to get ready for a new period of legal risk and uncertainty due to the IoT revolution. Companies are already heavily investing in building more connected devices. By the year 2020, there is expected to be an infrastructure running that will support a heavily connected world. It will be an exciting time to sort out how the next generation of security and liability will be legally accessed when property has gone digital.

 Article via LegalTechNews, 4 September 2015

Photo: Brooklyn Community Board via Bryan Bruchman[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Antipoaching, the act of refusing to hire employees from a rival company, may not seem like the best business strategy for large tech companies like Google or Apple who are always capitalizing on the “next big thing”. However, a civil law suit was filed against several companies including Google, Apple, Adobe, and Intel for antipoaching and is now recently being settled for $415 million after movie studios Pixar and Lucasfilm and financial software company Intuit settled previously. The companies involved in the lawsuit were accused of agreeing to not hire certain employees from each other which allowed each company to retain employees they would rather not lose. While antipoaching does sometimes serve the best interests of the company as a whole, some employees looking to earn a higher salary or explore other opportunities outside their place of work feel that the antipoaching agreement hindered their abilities to move up in their fields. Earlier versions of the lawsuit also included allegations that the antipoaching agreement allowed companies to artificially keep salaries low.

Even though all of the companies involved in the lawsuit chose to settle, many of the companies continued to state that they believed they had done nothing wrong. A statement released to CNET from Adobe by one of their spokespeople explained that, “Adobe firmly believes that our recruiting policies have in no way diminished competition for talent in the marketplace…Nevertheless, we elected to settle this matter in order to avoid the uncertainties, cost, and distraction of litigation.” A similar statement was released by Intel back in January when the settlement was originally proposed.

Article via CNET, September 3, 2015

Photo: Google Headquarters – Mt View via Servizi Multimediali [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]