Washington D.C. partner and Chief Data Scientist Bennett B. Borden and counsel Katherine E. Armstrong authored an article in the Spring 2016 edition of The SciTech Lawyer titled, “Tiny Sensors, Huge Consequences.”
Bennett and Katherine describe emerging trends in data collection and usage in the evolving landscape of the Internet of Things (IoT). Unlike ever before, electrical sensors are collecting unprecedented amounts of data from a variety of sources that can be combined to draw highly accurate and sometimes surprising inferences. Predictive analytics is often applied to IoT and other data to sort people into groups that can be targeted for products and services which can be potentially discriminatory. The article points out that some uses of IoT data raise thorny legal and ethical issues that are not adequately addressed by existing legal or regulatory frameworks. Bennett and Katherine explain that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to resolve all potential regulatory and ethical issues associated with IoT and big data, especially when much of the data is collected involuntarily and often used in unexpected ways. The article recommends that when using sensitive data in innovative ways, businesses carefully analyze and consider the traditional privacy principles, including notice and choice.