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Ownership in an Internet of Things context

Published on Jun 06, 2018

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Ownership in an Internet of Things context

Katarina Fast Lappalainen - Christine Storr
Photo by JD Hancock

Katarina Fast Lappalainen

Christine Storr

Untitled Slide

possession vs privacy

market vs human rights
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  • what is internet of things
  • what is ownership
  • which data could be "owned"?
  • should there be ownership of data?
Photo by JD Hancock

internet of things (IoT)

smart "things"

smart cities

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big data

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types of data

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where is data created?


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right to ownership

possession - commodity
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Principles of protection of property

  • The principle of peaceful enjoyment of property.
  • Deprivation of possessions is subject to certain conditions.
  • States are entitled to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest.
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P1-1 European Convention of Human Rights

Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

53. The Court recalls that the notion "possessions" (in French: biens) in Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) has an autonomous meaning which is certainly not limited to ownership of physical goods: certain other rights and interests constituting assets can also be regarded as "property rights", and thus as "possessions", for the purposes of this provision (P1-1). In the present context it is therefore immaterial whether Gasus’s right to the concrete-mixer is to be considered as a right of ownership or as a security right in rem. In any event, the seizure and sale of the concrete-mixer constituted an "interference" with the applicant company’s right "to the peaceful enjoyment" of a "possession" within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1).
CASE OF GASUS DOSIER- UND FÖRDERTECHNIK GmbH v. THE NETHERLANDS (Application no. 15375/89), 23 February 1995

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Article 17 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union - Right to property

1. Everyone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss. The use of property may be regulated by law in so far as is necessary for the general interest.
2. Intellectual property shall be protected.

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intellectual property rights

database protection, trade secrets, etc
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peaceful enjoyment of his possessions

No one shall be deprived of his possessions

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no one shall be deprived of his/her possessions

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GDPR personal data (Art 4)
(1) ‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;

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non-personal data

everything else
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Article 8 European Convention of Human Rights

Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

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right to be left alone

Article 8 ECHR

Article 3 Right to the integrity of the person

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
(a) the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law;
(b) the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons;
(c) the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain;
(d) the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

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Article 8 Protection of personal data

1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.
2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.

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right to data

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control over one's data

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data as economic interest

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personal data is “the new oil of the internet and the new currency of the digital world”

Keynote Speech of the former European Consumer Commissioner Kuneva M, 2009

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In the digital economy, information about individuals is often and increasingly seen by market participants as having a value comparable to money. Digital content is often supplied not in exchange for a price but against counter-performance other than money i.e. by giving access to personal data or other data. Those specific business models apply in different forms in a considerable part of the market.
Recital 13 Proposal for a Directive
on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content COM(2015) 634 final

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personal data as commodity

where is the market?
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moral limits of markets

from market economy to market society - Michael Sandel
"everything is up for sale".


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utilitarianism vs liberalism

possession vs privacy

market vs human rights
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who should own the data?

potential owners

fair distribution

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human dignity

personal data = fish
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Own what?

personal data as a commodity?

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collect data when people shower

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"tax" - contribute to society

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commerce with personal data?

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free trade with data

peaceful enjoyment of his possessions

types of personal data

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data in context

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