CPS Week International Workshop on Consumers and the Internet of Things - April 11th, 2016


Is Your Smart Thermostat Yours?
Reflecting on the Impact of the Internet of Things
on Ownership and Control of Consumer Goods


ConsIoT 2016:

The CPS Week 2016 International Workshop on Consumers and the Internet of Things

April 11th, 2016 – Vienna, Austria

Webcast live by

Twitter hashtag: #consiot

The video recordings of the event will be soon available here.


According to recent studies, consumer applications will drive the number of connected things. Integrated into the Internet and equipped with smart modules, consumer goods are increasingly becoming components of the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. As a result, material possessions embed software, can be remotely monitored and controlled, and often require third-party intermediation in order to be enjoyed by their purchaser. Technology itself, and contract, may affect customers' ability to use and transfer the IoT-embedded items purchased and the data collected by them. In this workshop, we aim to investigate how ownership and actual control are altered by the aforementioned developments; whether and to what extent this alteration is compatible with the European legislation in force; and, more generally, the impact of this change of paradigm on society.

Date and Venue

The Workshop will take place in Vienna, Austria, in co-location with the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) Week 2016 (see here for information on the venue), on April 11th, 2016.

– Workshop Programme –


9.00-09.15: Welcome and framework by Miryam Bianco (Nexa Center for Internet and Society, DAUIN, Politecnico di Torino)

9.15-09.30: Introduction (participants introduce themselves)

Workshop Session #1 “Consumers and the IoT: Hot Topics”

09.30-09.50: Pierre-Jean Benghozi (Ecole polytechnique, ARCEP): “Internet of Things: twin Challenges for the Regulation”. See Pierre-Jean's slides.
Several IoT strategies are currently implemented by incumbents or new entrants. This expansion contributes to a proliferation of technical solutions, architectures, services and players involved in the IoT ecosystem development. The major – and complex – concern is thus to improve, connect and inter-operate existing objects, applications and networks – regulated or not. From a telecommunication regulator perspective, the issues at stake are just, on the first view, a continuation of the usual issues: spectrum management, design of infrastructure, numbering and portability, licensing, consumer protection, competition investment and innovation, for instance. Yet, IoT raises also some specific concerns and puts at stake the regulation. It has, for instance, to handle a context in which intense competition to win markets are simultaneous with cooperation and non-competition technological strategies to roll out infrastructure and set common standards. Faced with these twin challenges of regulation (aimed at stimulating innovation and competitiveness levers on the one hand, to define coherent and sustainable framework for connectivity on the other), several are the subject of attention for NRA: to understand ecosystem and the balance of the value chain, to set and control the relevance and quality of connectivity (functional requirements, coverage, frequency, access, interconnection ...), to ascertain interoperability (needs, standardization, platforms), to monitor the use and protection of personal data, to ensure security and resilience of infrastructure and applications. As such, IoT might call some fresh articulations between the various regulatory authorities.

09.50-10.00: Q&A and comments

10.00-10.20: Alain Strowel (UCLouvain, Université Saint-Louis Brussels, Munich IP Law Center): “Big Data in the Platform Economy". See Alain's slides.
This presentation will address the issues surrounding the protection of, and access to, data in the online platform economy and the need to take into account the role of data in competition law and consumer law.

10.20-10.30: Q&A and comments

10.30-11.00: Coffee Break

11.00-11.20: Claudio Borean (SwarmLab, Telecom Italia): “Human and Artificial Intelligence in the Internet of Things: a possible Balance?”. See Claudio's slides.
The Internet of things allows the creation of new services that are typically designed as data collection and analytics to extract a deeper “meaning" of the information collected. Besides, new challenges are emerging considering automation and control capabilities through the actuation of IoT devices: smart thermostats, remote controllable heating valves and energy management systems and services based on optimization are rapidly emerging as very promising areas to exploit the IoT for business value creation. Moreover growing attention is emerging from latest achievements on deep learning and autonomous computing and the active role of humans in these “cyber-physical systems" need to be clarified. In this talk those challenges will be presented and possible strategies to overcome the issues of finding the right balance between humans and artificial intelligent systems will be exposed based on the feedbacks received from real field trials, such as the smart home pilot of the EU INTrEPID project.

11.20-11.30: Q&A and comments

11.30-11.40: [Paper] Gianclaudio Malgieri (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna): “(Intellectual) Ownership of Consumers' Information in the Internet of Things: a new proposed Taxonomy of personal Data”. See Gianclaudio's slides.
The distinction between “commercial data” and other personal data is totally anachronistic. Nowadays, the Information Industry is totally interested in any data related to consumers: not only their commercial preferences or habits; but also their health conditions, their familiar situation, their financial conditions, their sport habit, their friendships, etc. All these data are considered fundamental for a precise profiling of consumers also considering specific business branches: e.g., insurance companies are very much interested in health conditions, daily habits, mental solidity, in order to forecasts risks or a precise life expectancy; advertisers are more and more interested in every aspect of daily life of consumers; etc. In such a situation, it makes little sense to continue categorizing personal data on the basis of subject matters. This paper proposes to change perspective on personal data taxonomy, and to classify personal information in accordance to its “relationship” with the subject and with the reality, and to its degree of creativity compared to reality.

11.40-11.45: Q&A and comments

11.45-12.30: Keynote by Alessandro Bassi (IoTItaly): “Roadmap Ideas for the Development of new IoT Products, between Business Models, Technology and social Megatrends". See Alessandro's slides.
While all sources agree on the importance of IoT technologies in the Consumers space, there is no certitude on the exact timing and extent of this revolution. Often, while we tend to believe that technology follows a specific business objective, we can see that technology is created before a compelling business case is generated. IoT is also following this path: while a number of baseline technologies is ready, and while business cases were analysed, very little practical exploitation of these has been done. Collaborative Business models, for instance, seem to be used more on paper than in practical applications. During this talk we’ll go through different business models, how they relate to social mega-trends and what the technological development arena should focus on in order to enable IoT-ready products.

12.30-14.00: Lunch

14.00-14.20: Lucie Guibault (Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam): “Me and my Smartwatch: how close are we? An Analysis from a European Consumer Protection Law Perspective”. See Lucie's slides.
That a Smartwatch can tell the time is secondary. The real reason why people buy a Smartwatch is for the numerous extra functionalities it offers, from receiving email messages, to tracking one’s whereabouts and heartbeat. These functions make of a Smartwatch a very special object, for the purchase of the physical object says nothing about the right of the consumer to use the software embedded in it, to control the use of works created with it or to consent to the use of his personal data. What are the rights and obligations of a consumer with respect to his Smartwatch? Is the consumer bound by a license agreement for the use of the software? What is the nature of that licence, to what and to do what? Is the licensing contract properly formed? What if the functionality of the software does not meet the consumer’s reasonable expectations? Can the consumer effectively oppose the processing and the monitoring of his personal data? This presentation will examine these issues in the light of the European rules on consumer protection, copyright and data protection.

14.20-14.30: Q&A and comments

14.30-14.50: Effy Vayena (Health Ethics and Policy Lab, Institute for Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention, University of Zürich): “Internet of medical Things: ethical Challenges and Opportunities”.
The IoT is said to revolutionize medicine. The ample applications of automation, big data analytics, and the internet in the clinic and beyond suggest that the future of medicine and health care will indeed be entangled with the IoT. Despite the promise and the excitement around the immense potential for more effective and efficient health care, IoT in medicine raises several wicked ethical questions. In this paper I explore some of the specific questions around privacy, patient autonomy, and the reshaping of the doctor-patient relationship.

14.50-15.00: Q&A and comments

15.00-15.10: [Paper] Johanna Ullrich, Artemios G. Voyiatzis, Edgar R. Weippl (SBA Research): “The Quest for Privacy in the Consumer IoT”. See Johanna's slides.
Privacy remains among the toughest challenges for the consumer-facing Internet of Things (IoT). Privacy-by-Design (PbD) is the most recent attempt to address it. Thereby, privacy goals become part of the technical specification and are resolved directly in the development process. This contemplation opposes existing approaches that retrofit protection measures as an afterthought, often even after the introduction of the “things” in the market. PbD is not solely a technological approach; it is directly addressed by the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is presumably going to come into force in 2018.
In this paper, the drawbacks of the retrofit approach when applied to IoT, using as a case the IPv6 (one of IoT’s key networking technologies), are highlighted. It is argued that PbD is a resolution of specific significance (if not by now the only one) promising to directly solve the privacy challenges. Nevertheless, a significant omission is identified: neither legislation nor technology mandate the consumer involvement.

15.10-15.15: Q&A and comments

Workshop Session #2 “Consumers and the IoT: Discussion”

15.15-15.20: Scene setting by Hanne Melin (eBay Public Policy Lab)

15.20-15.30: Introduction to discussion by Miryam Bianco (Nexa Center for Internet and Society, DAUIN, Politecnico di Torino). See Miryam's slides.

15.30-16.00: Coffee Break

16.00-17.00: Discussion


17.00-17.15: Conclusion by Marco Ricolfi (Nexa Center for Internet and Society, DAUIN, Politecnico di Torino)

Invited Speakers

Alain Strowel, UCLouvain, Université Saint-Louis Brussels, Munich IP Law Center.

Alessandro Bassi, IoTItaly.

Pierre-Jean Benghozi, Ecole polytechnique, ARCEP.

Claudio Borean, SwarmLab Director, Telecom Italia.

Lucie Guibault, Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam.

Hanne Melin, Director & Head of EMEA, eBay Public Policy Lab.

Effy Vayena, Health Ethics and Policy Lab, Institute for Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention, University of Zurich.

Accepted Authors of Voluntary Contributions

Gianclaudio Malgieri, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

Johanna Ullrich, Artemios G. Voyiatzis, Edgar R. Weippl, SBA Research.


Prof. Marco Ricolfi, Chair of Intellectual Property, Department of Law, Turin University, Co-director, Nexa Center for Internet and Society, Polytechnic of Turin.

Dr. Guido Noto La Diega, President and Co-founder of Ital-IoT.

Miryam Bianco, Nexa Center for Internet and Society (DAUIN), Polytechnic of Turin.



Info on the Workshop

The workshop, organised by the Nexa Center for Internet and Society in the context of the CPS Week 2016, focuses on the ownership and control challenges raised by one of the most hyped and disruptive implementations of CPS – the Internet of Things – with regard to consumer applications.

The following are some basic ideas to frame the workshop:

Objective: The workshop aims to investigate the impact the embodiment of digital world features in physical goods may have on usability of the goods themselves and of the data collected by them, and to analyse legal implications of and consumers' attitude towards those changes.

Framework: We understand the terms “Internet of Things” and “consumer goods” in their broadest meanings, and we use such concepts as benchmarks (with no normative implication). With the expression “ownership and control”, we extensively refer to the right and the factual ability to use and dispose of an IoT product, both on the whole and for what concerns any of its components (hardware, software, service, data). The workshop will include both general and abstract reflection, and real/hypothetical specific case studies.

Opportunity: The topic, despite not primarily engineering-oriented, profitably complements the CPS Week Conferences. It is useful in establishing how cyber-physical systems are transforming the ways people interact with the physical world, and thus in developing the principles to respect when integrating cyber and physical elements. Also, it helps to consider CPS applications – especially when involving consumers – in a wider (legal and social) perspective.

Method: The workshop will include a few presentations, a panel discussion, and a keynote. The workshop is open to both academia and industry, in this way ensuring a multi-perspective approach. Both invited speakers and spontaneous contributors (see below, "Contributions") will participate.

Topics: The relevant topics include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • IoT impact on use and transfer;
  • contracts for IoT products;
  • the role of providers in consumer enjoyment of IoT goods;
  • technological management impact on contract law;
  • ownership in an Internet of Things world;
  • social implications for consumers;
  • qualification and transparency of IoT contracts;
  • cloud computing and consumer enjoyment of IoT products;
  • the state of competition in the market of IoT;
  • business models for the IoT market;
  • portability of the collected data;
  • informational and operational security threats;
  • analogies with digital content, cloud computing and/or virtual worlds.


We welcome original contributions on the matter (see the illustrative list of topics shown above; further topics might be accepted upon request). Contributions are accepted upon organisers’ approval.

Contributions should be between 4 and 6 pages, should be written in English, and should be in PDF format according to the IEEE manuscript template for conference proceedings.

Contributions should be submitted ‒ at the latest by Thursday, February 11th, 2016 Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 (24:00 AOE) ‒ to the following e-mail address: consiot2016[at]nexa[dot]polito[dot]it. Please write “[ConsIoT 2016] Contribution” in the e-mail subject line.

Important Dates

Deadline for contributions to ConsIoT 2016: February 11th, 2016 March 1st, 2016

Early registration deadline for CPS Week: March 11th March 18th

Date of the Workshop: April 11th, 2016

For Further Information

Miryam Bianco
Tel.: +39 011 090 7216
M.: +39 347 342 7993
E-mail address: miryam[dot]bianco[at]polito[dot]it

Visit the website of the CPS Week 2016.

Visit the website page of the Nexa Center research project on "Ownership in the Internet of Things".