The Internet of Things has a certain allure. You can set your home at just the right temperature, or ask Alexa about the First Amendment. But if there was one takeaway from the Mirai botnet debacle that weaponized over a million internet cameras, it was this: a lot of these devices have serious security flaws. And those flaws, naturally, have opened the door to lawsuits.
In this episode of Unprecedented, we talk with two people about where this issue is headed: Wiley Rein partner Megan Brown, who advises companies on cybersecurity litigation and regulatory issues in Washington, and Stanford University assistant computer science professor Keith Winstein, who is participating in the Secure Internet of Things Project.
Brown contends that litigation will only hamper efforts to make devices more secure. “You may create a perverse incentive that tells companies don’t talk about their vulnerabilities and don’t share information about this because you’re just going to get sued down the road,” she says.
Meanwhile, Winstein explains that the reason so many of these devices are weak in the first place boils down to both how their software is developed and raw dollars-and-cents. “Some of these internet of things devices, they don’t cost $500, they cost more like $5. And so the economic model might not be there for someone to keep preparing fixes for any length of time.”
Listen to the full podcast below.
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About the podcast: “Unprecedented” is a biweekly podcast hosted by Law.com reporter Ben Hancock about technology, the law, and the future of litigation. Based in San Francisco, Ben writes about third-party litigation finance, legal data analytics, artificial intelligence, privacy, and related issues. Listen to more Law.com podcasts here.