Internet of Things- Five Most Famous Legal Lawsuits

28th June - Internet of Things Five Most Famous Legal Lawsuits

INTERNET OF THINGS AND THE LAW

As we have already seen in the previous articles, the advent of IoT marks a major shift in the technological dependence of human beings, and the law is evolving to adapt to the changing demands and requirements corresponding to new smart machines. Major questions are raised with respect to privacy, security, data protection, consumer disputes, etc. Here let us have a look at a few major law suits relating to the IoT industry.

  • VIZIO PRIVACY INFRINGEMENT: The smart-TV manufacturer was using its software to collect data about consumers, such as sex, age, income, marital status, etc. and was sharing it with third parties and began selling targeted advertising data to the consumers. The stated purpose for collecting information was to give programme offers and suggestions, but they used it for advertising purposes without obtaining consumers’ consent, which was the reason for the Federal Trade Commission lawsuit filed alongside the Attorney general of New Jersey and the Director of the State’s Consumer Affairs Division. On February 6th, Vizio settled the matter by paying $2.2 Million, and passed a Resolution that they would collect clear consumer consent before tracking their data.
  • NETFLIX PATENT SUIT: A company named Blackbird Technologies sued the popular online entertainment giant Netflix a few months back, on a claim of infringement of patent. The former company owns a plethora of patents in the US, and survives on the money earned through lawsuits relating to the infringement of these patents. The patent is in relation to a method of supplying products from pre-stores digital data in response to consumer demands send through computer networks. The suit has been filed against Netflix and three other companies which all have some feature of digital data duplication, such as downloading and viewing a content offline.
  • CAHEN v TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION: In the 2015 case, the Motor Manufacturers Toyota, Ford and General Motors were sued in a class action by a consumer, alleging that the computer technology in these vehicles were prone to easy hacking, as most of the vehicle’s functions were controlled by a small network of computers. It was claimed that the manufacturers were available of the security risk, but nonetheless claimed it to be secure, and this amounted to fraud. However, the Court dismissed the lawsuit, supporting the defendant’s claim that a mere speculation of a future hacking is not an actual injury, and since no actual incidents of hacking has taken place, the case does not stand.
  • ROSE v St. JUDE MEDICAL INC.: In this 2016 case, the plaintiff challenged a variety of medical implants such as pacemakers, heart-resynchronizers, etc. that use radiofrequency wireless technology, which allows these devices to be monitored remotely, by which the patient does not need to go to the Doctor for monitoring. The case was based on a Report that alleged that these in-house transmission devices were not secure, and the devices were exposed to potential attacks by hackers. The manufactures denied the security risk, and have in fact filed a case against the publishers of the Report, alleging defamation.
  • BAKER v ADT CORP.: In the 2014 case, the plaintiff sued wireless home security devices manufactured by ADT, as capable of being turned off by using popular technology, under a third-party’s control. The claim was that the system was falsely triggered by some third party, but the case was based more on the ‘security’ guarantees given by ADT in its marketing statements, rather than on the actual quantified damage based on the alarms falsely raised. The Court dismissed the suit in part, but kept the portions on consumer fraud, with respect to the claims on “secure communication links.”

 

These are only a few examples on the potential matters on which lawsuits may arise, with the IoT technology proceeding in full blow and entering new spheres of products, including home security, wearable devices, healthcare, etc. As discussed in the earlier articles, the questions may arise on a plethora of issues, ranging from IP infringement, consumer disputes, security, privacy, and so on. The take of law enforcement on these matters would have to be seen from the decisions made by the Regulatory Authorities, as when the questions come up before them.

 

 

EXTENT OF LIABILITY OF DOCTORS AND LAWYERS REGARDING ADVICE TO CLIENTS

27th June - EXTENT OF LIABILITY OF DOCTORS AND LAWYERS REGARDING ADVICE TO CLIENTS

Lawyers and Doctors: Liability for Wrong Advice

Doctors and Lawyers are two classes of people whose services are indispensible to social life, and every person, at some point of time, depends on them for assistance. This leads at to the question to what extent doctors and lawyers must be held liable for any wrong opinion or advice tendered without any express malice. If every bit of their advice were to be regarded as conclusive, it would lead to a plethora of claims and cases against them, which in turn would contribute adversely to the practice of these professions. For the same, the law affords certain level of immunity to these professionals in respect of the correctness of the advices rendered.

CBI, Hyderabad v Narayana Rao[i]

The CBI had registered a case under Sections 120-B, 419, 420 of IPC against the Branch manager and Asst. Manager of Vijaya Bank at Hyderabad for abusing their official position and defrauding the bank by sanctioning housing loans to 22 borrowers in violation of the Bank’s rules and guidelines and thereby causing wrongful loss of Rs. 1.27 Crores to the Bank, and also included the Respondent (who was a Panel Advocate of the Bank) in the Charge-sheet submitted to the Court. The allegation against him is that he gave false legal opinion in respect of 10 housing loans. He subsequently filed a petition under Section 482 of the Code before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad for quashing of the criminal proceedings. The High Court granted the same, and the CBI appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court observed that the only allegation against him is that he submitted false legal opinion about the genuineness of the properties in question.  The Supreme Court upheld the HC decision, and the Respondent was absolved of the liability. The case also laid dawn certain principles of immunity to lawyers and doctors, which provide some advantage to professionals in respect of the advice rendered to clients in good faith.

The Decision of the Court

The Court stated that “A lawyer does not tell his client that he shall win the case in all circumstances. Likewise a physician would not assure the patient of full recovery in every case. A surgeon cannot and does not guarantee that the result of surgery would invariably be beneficial, much less to the extent of 100% for the person operated on. The only assurance which such a professional can give or can be given by implication is that he is possessed of the requisite skill in that branch of profession which he is practising and while undertaking the performance of the task entrusted to him, he would be exercising his skill with reasonable competence.”

Under these circumstances, the Court went on to state that “ A professional may be held liable for negligence on one of the two findings, viz., either he was not possessed of the requisite skill which he professed to have possessed, or, he did not exercise, with reasonable competence in the given case, the skill which he did possess.”

The Court elaborated that “merely because his opinion may not be acceptable, he cannot be mulcted with the criminal prosecution, particularly, in the absence of tangible evidence that he associated with other conspirators.”

However, the Court also pointed out that a lawyer owes an “unremitting loyalty” to the interests of the client and it is the lawyer’s responsibility to act in a manner that would best advance the interest of the client.

 

 

INDIAN KANOON

[i] CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  1460  OF 2012, Supreme Court of India

 

MAINTENANCE TO EMPLOYED WIFE – LIABILITY OF HUSBAND

24th June - MAINTENANCE TO EMPLOYED WIFE - LIABILITY OF HUSBAND

The Indian Position on Maintenance:

The liability of husband to maintain his wife can be categorized under different sub-heads under the Indian law, ranging from its variations under Hindu, Muslim, Parsi, and Christian personal laws; and the general liability imposed under CrPC S.125.

Here we analyze the provision under S.125 CrPC, and the evolution of the position over the years to the current position, especially for an employed wife capable of maintaining herself. The provision deals with the maintenance of wives, parents and children who are unable to maintain themselves, and where the person has sufficient means, but refuses/neglects to maintain such persons. The benefit is available to a wife who is unable to maintain herself, a minor child, a major child unable to maintain himself or herself due to his mental or physical abnormality (except an unmarried daughter), father or mother unable to maintain themselves. The aggrieved person may approach the Magistrate for relief, who may in turn direct such person to pay monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate as such magistrate thinks fit.

Maintenance to Employed Wife

The provision purports to provide relief to a wife who is unable to maintain herself, indicating that in case she is capable of doing that, then she may not successfully claim further payment of maintenance by husband. The provision also contains words “with sufficient means” meaning that the person against whom the proceedings have been initiated must have reasonable means of maintaining the wife but neglects/refuses to do so. Provision under CrPC is not in conflict with the same under personal laws, and a person not entitled to maintenance under this section may still successfully sue under their respective laws. The judicial trend with respect to maintenance to employed wives has been varying over time, and the view has been quite dynamic. It is not necessary that the woman should be an absolute destitute before she can claim maintenance, and the phrase “not able to maintain herself” indicates that she is unable to meet her needs even if she has a meager income.

  • Pratab Bhai Trivedi v Priyamvada Ghamu Pratapbhai Trivedi[1], the Court held that merely because the respondent had chosen to work would not disentitle her to the right of maintenance.
  • Ashok Kumar vs. Satwant Kuar[2], it was held that the husband’s may avail benefit in terms of his liability, to the extent of the independent income of the wife, but then again his income too will be taken into consideration.
  • In Mamta Jaiswal v Rajesh Jaiswal[3], it was held that a spouse who is well qualified to get the service immediately with less efforts is not expected to remain idle and to squeeze out the adversary by implementing the provisions of law suitable to their purpose.
  • The Madras HC in Manokaran @ Ramamoorthy vs M. Devaki[4] held that an employed wife with sufficient means could not receive maintenance under S.24 HMA.
  • Munish Bhasin & Ors v NCT of Delhi and Anr[5], held that it was not open to the Court to direct the appellant to pay maintenance to his wife and child as a pre-condition foe anticipatory bail u/s 498A or S.406 IPC.
  • Neeraj Aggarwal v veeka Aggarwal[6], it was held that in the present case the applicant/ wife is a well-qualified engineer and, therefore, there is no need for her to sit idle at home waiting for the maintenance from the husband.

However, it has to be noted that this is not a blanket refusal by the judiciary to provide maintenance to employed wives. The Supreme Court has laid down that an estranged woman can claim maintenance from her husband in spite of her efforts to earn a monthly income if that is not enough for her maintenance, and she does not need to be an absolute destitute to apply for maintenance.

 

INDIAN KANOON

[1] II (1993) DMC 25 Gujarat

[2]  I (1983) DMC 27 Delhi

[3] Civil Revision No. 1290/99 Decided On: 24.03.2000, HC of Madhya Pradesh

[4] AIR 2003 Mad 212

 

[5] CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 344 OF 2009 before the SC of India

[6] M No. 28/07, ADDL. DISTRICT JUDGE, Rohini, New Delhi

PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING ACT, 2002 (As amended in 2005)

22nd June - Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2005

Money laundering is the process of converting illegally obtained profits into legitimate money for the purpose of pushing it into the economy and spending it, disguising its illegal origin. Illegal means include criminal activities like arms sale, smuggling, organized crime, etc. the PMLA defines Money Laundering as “any process or activity connected with proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property”. Since such money is used for illegal arms trade or organized crimes, in turn having effects on global peace, the international community also attempts to tackle this menace. India is a signatory to UN Conventions like International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000), and UN Convention against Corruption (2003). PMLA was enacted to achieve the purpose of the Conventions, and prevent money laundering and financing of cross border terrorism.

KEY FEATURES OF THE ACT:

  • Offence includes attempting, indulging or assisting any activity connected with proceeds of crime like its possession, acquisition, concealment, or use.
  • “Proceeds of Crime” include any property derived or obtained as a result of any criminal activity, whether directly or indirectly.
  • Offences are added as Schedules A and C to the Act, where Part A enumerates offences under the IPC, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Explosive Substances Act, etc. Part C deals with trans-border crimes and money laundering across international boundaries.
  • The occurrence of any of the Scheduled Offence (called the Predicate Offence) is a pre-requisite for initiating an investigation under the Act.
  • Predicate Offences are investigated by agencies like the Police, Customs, SEBI, CBI, NCB, etc. Officers of the Directorate of Enforcement have been given powers to investigate cases of Money Laundering.
  • Actions that may be taken against a person or property involved in money laundering are attachment/seizure/freezing of property; imprisonment of 3-7 years with fine; imprisonment up to 10 years if the offence committed is under NDPS Act; and the prosecution/conviction of any juridical person is not contingent on that of any individual.
  • The Investigating Officers have powers like provisional attachment of property directly/indirectly procured through criminal activities; survey; search and seizure; personal search; arrest; and summoning persons and records.
  • The persons being searched under the Act, or arrested under the Act have certain rights like he may ask to be taken to a Gazetted officer superior in Rank to the Officer requiring the search, within 24 hours; and in case of arrest, he must be informed of the reasons for arrest and be produced before the Judicial Magistrate in 24 hours.
  • There is a presumption of interconnected transactions, whereby if the activity in question involves two or more interconnected transactions, and one or more of these is proved to be involved in money laundering, then for adjudication/confiscation/trial, the rest can also be presumed to be so; unless proved otherwise.
  • The burden of proof rests on the accused to establish his innocence when he is accused of having committed an offence under section 3.
  • The specified Authorities under the Act have the power to attach or freeze suspected property under circumstances given under the Act; the attachment of property can be done only on the basis of reasons to believe (stated in writing), that the person is in possession of proceeds of any crime, and it is likely to be concealed or transferred in a manner that might frustrate the proceedings against the person.
  • The maximum period up to which such a provisional attachment could stand is 180 days, unless the Adjudicating Authority finds and passes Order within the time frame, that the property is involved in Money Laundering.
  • The property may be confiscated if the Authority finds out that the property was indeed involved in money laundering.
  • The Act provides for an Appellate Tribunal, to which an appeal may be filed within 45 days by an aggrieved party, after an Order is passed against him by the Adjudicating Body. High Court is the higher appellate authority above the Tribunal.
  • Offence of Cross-Border implication, where a person outside the territory of India commits a crime there (also a crime under Schedules A or C), and transfers the proceeds to India; or vice versa.
  • Banking Companies, Financial Institutions, intermediaries, or persons carrying out specified businesses are “reporting Entities” under the Act, and they are under a duty to record and maintain information regarding transactions, and furnish it to the Authorities as stipulated under the Act.
  • Monetary penalty may be imposed on the reporting Authorities for default.
  • Certain Sessions Courts have been designated as Special Courts under the Act for the purpose of trying offences under S.4.
  • The Central Govt can enter into Agreements with other countries for the purpose of enforcing provisions of the Act, or exchange of information for preventing offences, or for investigation.
  • The mechanism of providing assistance or collecting evidence under such arrangement is given in the Act
  • The Act provides for punishment of vexatious search, giving false information, etc.
  • PMLA has overriding effect over other legislations in force, in case of a conflict.

MAJOR CASE LAWS

  • Pareena Swaroop v Union of India
  • Gautam Kundu v Manoj Kumar (Asst Director of Enforcement, Eastern Region)

 

 

Internet of Things- Legal Trends

LEGAL TREND ON IoT

WHAT IS IoT?

Internet of Things is a network of interconnected devices that communicate information amongst each other using data and sensors, and work in a coordinated manner to create a technologically enabled ecosystem of various devices. For example, the wearable devices that monitor a person’s vitals; GPS system built within a car that tell the AC at home that the person will be home soon; intelligent home security systems that lock and unlock the house on its own; etc. Such technology is being created and marketed by many service providers, and we have discussed its legal challenges in a previous post. Let us now have a look at the legal trend being followed by various jurisdictions to adapt to the technological advancements.

THE EUROPEAN UNION

The European Commission (EC) has been coordinating with the industry, member States, and third-party States to exploit the true potential of IoT for development. The various steps adopted by the EC are:

  • Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) launched in 2015 to enable the EC to work closely with the players in the IoT industry to create an innovative and technology-driven IoT system.
  • Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy adopted, to promote interoperability of the component devices
  • Introduced a “Digitising European Industry (DEI)” initiative and published a published a staff working document “Advancing the Internet of Things in Europe” to create a thriving IoT system, human centred IoT approach, and a single market for IoT.
  • EU Data Protection Directive 95/46 that gave data processors some defence against individual claims, now made more stringent under EU Data Protection Regulation.
  • EU Privacy Directives also apply to the IoT industry.

 

THE UNITED STATES

The Federal Govt has adopted non-binding guidance to the players in the industry, necessitating the companies to do it the right way.

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report on “The Internet of Things; privacy and security in a connected World”, outlining steps to ensure privacy and security.
  • Federal laws regarding privacy and data protection also apply to IoT domain, and the law relating to cyberspace would also have a major impact.

INDIA

IoT comes within the domain of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, under the Department of Electronics and IT. It is notable that IoT comes as an added boon at the time of introduction of Digital India programme to ‘transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy’. The Govt released a Draft Policy on Internet of Things in 2015, with the objectives of creating an IoT industry in India of USD 15 billion by 2020; to undertake Research & development for all the assisting technologies; to undertake capacity development (Human & Technology) for IoT specific skillsets for domestic and international markets; and to develop IoT products specific to Indian needs in the domains of agriculture, health, water quality, natural disasters, etc. The Policy covers:

  • Vertical Pillars: The primary aims sought to be achieved in time, divided into
  • Domain-Specific Applications (Smart City, Smart Water, Smart Environment, Smart Health, Smart Waste Management, Smart Agriculture, Smart Safety, etc.)
  • Incubation and Capacity Building: To build Institutional capacity by promoting experimentations and applications.
  • Standardization: To promote globally acceptable standards relating to technology, process, interoperability and services.
  • Innovation, Research and Development: To fund and promote R&D in specific related fields by identifying core members in each field, initiating cloud based open source projects, and create test labs for integration.
  • Incentives and Engagement: To promote incentives to support companies in the IoT domain, encouraging exports, and participating in IoT Forums such as those of IEEE.

 

  • Horizontal Supports: The subsidiary support system essential to help the IoT framework to function well.
  • Human Resource Development: To create an Education and Awareness Programme on IoT, also introducing it into University Curriculum.
  • Governance: The new technology requires a new structure of governance to ensure compliance, and the Govt purports to achieve it through a multifaceted framework:
  • Legal: New legal provisions would need to be created, and the existing ones amended, to effectively manage the new systems created wherein machines will decide and intermediary human control will be minimum.
  • Advisory Committee: To set up a high-level advisory committee with representatives from Govt, industry and academia.
  • Governance Committees: To set up High-Level Governance Committees for different application domains.
  • Programme Management Unit: To set up Management Units to support in identification, operationalization, implementation, performance tracking, periodic reviews, etc. of initiatives.

 

It may be noted that IoT is evolving and developing, and its full practical impact on the market and society will be felt only one the ripples reach far and wide. The law and regulatory framework will thus have to stay equally potent in corresponding evolution. The Govts across the world are currently attempting to utilise the benefits of IoT to attain better developmental goals, at the same time not jeopardizing privacy, security, and data protection concerns.

Why One Must Use Electronic Signature for Contracts

19th June - Why one must use electronic signature for contracts

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE – WHAT IT IS

An E-Signature is an encoded signature embedded on an electronic document, instead of printing it out and putting a physical signature on it. It symbolises the person’s intent to affix his sign on the said document. An e-signature is different from a digital signature, which is a mode of encrypting an electronic document with a public key and a private key to ensure confidentiality and authenticity. E-signatures do not use complicated encryptions, but only affix a digital form of signature indicating authentication of the document by the signing party.

ADVANTAGES OF USING E-SIGNATURES ON CONTRACTS

  • Time Saving: The whole point of making e-contracts instead of offline contracts is to enable parties to communicate easily and save time spent in documentation. But if a real signature is to be affixed on the paper, it would require a print out, signature, and then scanning/faxing to send it to the other person; thus ruining the time saved in the primary electronic transactions. E-signature helps to overcome this hurdle, as the parties can affix the signature online and send it back right away. It is also easier to negotiate and amend terms in the final contract before signing.
  • Security: E-Signatures are created either with the help of online E-Sign services or using the company’s own website. These ensure confidentiality of the document, and prevents loss that may occur in actual transit. Online E-Sign services usually use high-security servers and encryptions to prevent outsider invasion into the databases.
  • Easier to close deals: From the view point of a business, the earlier the customer signs and submits the deal, the better. Absence of paperwork enable companies to close deals easily by not letting long-drawn time frames instil second thoughts in the customers’ minds, negating all the canvassing by sales personnel.
  • Flexibility and Mobility: Enables you to work on contracts and deals from anywhere and at any time; a contract can be signed even while you are in transit or at places with no immediate availability of stationary and print services. It allows mobility to business personnel assigned with the responsibility to close deals, and they can manage multiple contracts simultaneously without the risk of mixing up papers.
  • Cost Reduction: Lesser paperwork implies lesser amount of stationary and office supplies, and it does away with the need of storage space for registers and documents physically signed. The overall transaction is carried out through electronic means and there is no cost incurred in printing, posting, etc.
  • Convenience of Customers: Apart from the benefits directly accruing to the business, it also enables the customer to sign the document easily without much fuss, and makes it convenient for them to transact with the company. It in turn contributes to increased customer satisfaction, and enhances brand loyalty and goodwill.
  • Environment Factor: In addition to the business-financial benefits, not to forget that more and more e-transactions are encouraged today to reduce paperwork and conserve paper. While you are opting for e-contracts and e-signatures, you are doing your part for a better world.

LEGAL AND STATUTORY FRAMEWORK (INDIAN KANOON)

  • Indian Contract Act: An agreement reached at by two competent parties, satisfying the requirements under the Act, is a valid contract, and it does not mandate a physical signature. The contract may be oral, written, or electronic.
  • Information technology Act: Specifically states that enforceability of a contract cannot be denied merely due to it being in an electronic form. E-contracts with e-signatures are as good as offline contracts.
  • Indian Evidence Act: Electronic records are admissible as evidence.

 

INTERNET OF THINGS: LEGAL Perspective-Risk & Challenges

9th June -Internet of Things- Legal challenges and What a company should do

For people new to the technology and its possibilities, it sounds just like the thing out of a sci-fi movie, or one of the ideas borrowed from George Orwell’s famous Novel “1984”. The concept is certainly path-breaking, to say the least, but at the same time it instils a fear akin to the one outlined in 1984; and technology is growing at an exponential rate such that someday man would be reduced to a submissive slave of “intelligent” technology – we have intelligent houses, cars, electronic appliances, and even toilets. These are a few examples of what is currently gaining popularity as the Internet of Things – a collection of everyday physical objects that are interconnected through the internet to create a larger network system, sending and receiving data among each other to function in harmony. For eg, there are wearable gadgets that monitor your vitals like pulse; and smart security systems that lock the house automatically at a pre-set time; or machine to machine communication where you can have your car’s controls accessed via your mobile phone, and so on. IoT is taking up a vital pace in the market, and many big players are entering the domain, given its tremendous potential of growth and profits. It integrates several technologies and communication systems, and overlaps various industries like home appliances, medical services, automotive industry, etc. It also raises several legal concerns and challenges at the same time. Jurisdictions across the globe are attempting to frame new regulations and amend the existing ones to adapt to the developments.

LEGAL CHALLENGES RAISED BY IoT:

  • Privacy and Security: With massive quantities of data flowing between databases, and sensitive information being shared between devices, a profile of the person gets created automatically and is exposed to the risk of privacy encroachments. Information obtained by such interconnected systems get disseminated without seeking express consent of the person at each stage, and it is difficult to curb this if the whole process is to work in a coordinated manner, as the connection and sharing of information is the pre-requisite of such automation.
  • Data Protection: The free flow of data makes it prone to being intercepted and transferred to other databases, and if the in-built security systems are hacked, the personal information may pass on to any outsider. The current Information Technology Law regime addresses data protection through the need for informed consent, and reasonable security compliances that data handlers must follow.
  • Intellectual Property Rights: The functioning of IoT systems rely heavily on interconnection, requiring that the products and technology developed by different companies and industries must pool their innovations and work on an integrated platform. This blurs the boundaries of IPR protected technologies, and creates issues as to what extent of rights each party is entitled to.
  • Data Ownership: When seamless integration of data from various technologies and devices takes place, the question as to who owns the end product (information) created, is an intriguing question. Where a wearable gadget like watch senses the pulse/body temperature and directs the AC to adjust the room temperature to a comfortable level; or where the navigation system in a car could predict to the home appliances when the person would be arriving home, the ownership of the data generated regarding that person (his travel route, time, habits, etc.) become a question of concern. Does the person own the data (because it relates to him) or do the devices (because they created it)?
  • Jurisdiction: The IT world has its own jurisdictional issues, as it cannot be attributed to any limited geographical area; and the advent of IoT only creates a more complex scenario. The jurisdiction in cyberspace is determined on the basis of several considerations like minimum contacts, long-arm statutes, agreements between parties, etc. Since IoT involves the interconnection of various technologies and services of different companies which may be within different jurisdictions individually, the fixing of a common jurisdiction for IoT related disputes would involve various considerations.
  • Deciding Liability: If a consumer dispute arises on an IoT issue, or any injury is caused to a party, it becomes difficult to precisely state which aspect of the interconnected devices malfunctioned, and who is to be held liable. The flow of information is continuous, and it is sometimes not practicable to pin-point where the flaw occurred.

 

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND IF YOU ARE INTO IoT DOMAIN

  • Go through laws of a country carefully before expanding into their market; pay attention to laws and regulations on Consumer Protection, Contracts, IPRs, IT Laws, Criminal liability relating to such matters, etc.
  • When entering into collaborative projects with other companies, make sure you liability is limited and not open to expansive interpretation by Courts; also write the Contract with clear terms and conditions as to rights and obligations of each party in the collaboration.
  • While introducing the service in the market, train suppliers and retail sellers to educate customers about the nature of the information that will flow through the device; and how to limit the access to personal information.
  • Put in place efficient and 24×7 customer care services to address grievances and answer queries.
  • Make sure that your contracts with the customers contain all details as to the extent of information that will be accessed and communicated by the device, and that it is accepted by the customer while purchasing the product. Use clear terms and conditions to ensure that customers give an “informed consent”.
  • Use high-efficiency data protection systems to ensure that hackers and third parties don’t compromise your devices to steal information.
  • Engage lawyers to ensure compliance with laws, and consult with the regulatory Authorities, if in doubt regarding any Regulation. Legalresolved lawyers  can  help you in comprehending those legal challenges and provide you a strategy to  Overcome them
  • Introduce internal grievance redressal mechanisms in company; or include arbitration clauses within the contract with customers, to avoid litigations in Court to the best possible extent.

 

STATUTES TO KEEP IN MIND (INDIAN KANOON)

  • Indian Contract Act
  • Information Technology Act
  • Patents Act
  • Internet of Things Policy, 2015, by Govt of India

 

The above list is far from being conclusive, and only gives a brief view on the legal implications of IoT; the law is still only developing to the needs created by the rapid growth of technology. Legal Policies are created, revised, and amended from time to time, and one must always look up at all concerned legislations and regulations, to have a comprehensive knowledge on the matter.

 

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