Networked things

Tesla recently announced self-driving as an add-on feature for future models. Buried in the legal jargon is this: You're not allowed to use your self-driving Tesla "for revenue purposes". Who owns this car?

On Oct 21, 2016 a massive botnet took down DNS service Dyn, shutting down access to many large sites in North America.

The botnet was mostly made up of zombie webcams infected by Mirai -- viral malware designed to turn IOT devices into a DDOS army.

On Oct 24, the webcam manufacturer Hangzhou Xiongmai, recalled the insecure devices that had made up a large part of the botnet. But this single webcam model is hardly the root cause.

We live in a future where you can buy a $16 Linux computer the size of a stick of gum. Solar panels, webcams, cars, toasters, candles... Everything will be a little smart. Everything will be hackable.

Some questions:

  • Who will own these smart things?
  • What does ownership mean when a hacker can compromise them?
  • Is "ownership" a realistic goal for a networked thing? Is it desirable?
  • When everything we own is a little bit smart, will all those smart things have overlapping and competing legal agreements?
  • If so, who decides what is fair?
  • Who will be responsible when things go wrong?
  • How will we know what EULAs we are breaking and what EULAs we are keeping?
  • With thousands of competing EULAs, how will conflicts be enforced? Automated settlements?