Canada: Regulators In Canada And The U.S. Signal Increasing Interest In The Internet Of Things

The 'Internet of Things' (or IoT, which we have written about before) is generating fresh interest among legislators and regulatory authorities on both sides of the border. Recent initiatives in both the United States and Canada are likely to bring renewed political attention to the transformative potential of this technology space, particularly for its use in private enterprise and the delivery of public services. At the same time, these developments also raise significant questions about the inherent privacy, security, and consumer protection issues underlying the IoT's rapidly growing network of interconnected objects and data sources.

U.S. Developments on the Internet of Things

Last week, the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee considered the bipartisan bill S. 2607, the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act (or, DIGIT). The bill is scant on specifics with respect to the regulation of the IoT, and instead puts in place a process to consult with industry, technology, consumer, and business stakeholders to develop frameworks for the emerging space. The bill effectively uses a commission-style approach to inform Congress of the best way lawmakers can help stimulate the IoT. Under the bill, a working group will be convened that will ultimately submit a report that includes an analysis of the IoT spectrum's needs, budgetary challenges, consumer protections, privacy and security matters, and the current use of the technology by government agencies.

Proponents of DIGIT point to the need to develop proactive policies to support the growth of these technologies – such as those policies that facilitated the rapid expansion and adoption of the Internet by citizens and the public and private sectors. The bill is expected to pass out of the Committee with bipartisan support.

DIGIT resembles a recent call for public input from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) – a process which may play out concurrently if the bill passes. On April 5, the NTIA posted a Request for Comment on potential policy issues with the IoT, and specifically, on what role the government ought to play in this area.

After analyzing the comments it receives, the NTIA intends to issue a 'green paper' that "identifies key issues impacting the deployment of these technologies, highlights potential benefits and challenges, and identifies possible roles for the federal government in fostering the advancement of IoT technologies in partnership with the private sector."

Similar to DIGIT, the NTIA consultation appears to be aimed primarily at putting in place conditions that will help foster the growth, public, and commercial benefit of the IoT. That said, the detailed Request for Comment paper identifies that the IoT raises issues with respect to privacy, and points to recent examples involving the connection of cars and medical devices to the Internet. On this point, the NTIA references the Federal Trade Commission's proposals on privacy and cybersecurity with respect to the IoT.

The deadline for filing comments with the NTIA is May 23, 2016.

Canada's Privacy Commissioner Discusses IoT Privacy Issues

In contrast to these U.S. policymakers' focus on developing an ecosystem for the commercialization, use, and expansion of the IoT, Canadian discussion of the IoT remains largely confined to the realm of the nation's privacy regulators. The most recent report of observations and concerns related to the IoT was published by Canada's Privacy Commissioner in February 2016.

The research paper, billed as An introduction to privacy issues with a focus on the retail and home environments, is intended to help Canadians understand "how their privacy will be affected by the online networking of uniquely identified, everyday objects". The paper aptly focuses on the impact the IoT will have on individual consumers, canvassing privacy-related issues such as customer profiling; accountability and transparency; the ethics of data collection, access and correction rights; and the challenges of device and information security.

The Privacy Commissioner concludes that technological developments with respect to the IoT has not been matched by an equivalent improvement in the existing privacy governance models. The Commissioner's report is not a call for public input, but similar to the American initiatives, it raises more questions about the future of IoT regulation than it answers. The report concludes that limited information or considerations have taken shape concerning the privacy implications of having a large amount of data points collected, aggregated across devices, and analyzed by device owners and third parties unknown to the individual user.

Underscoring its engagement with IoT issues, the Privacy Commissioner announced that it will participate in a coordinated online audit to analyze the impact of everyday connected devices on privacy. The audit will be coordinated by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network ("GPEN"), a global network of approximately 50 data protection authorities ("DPAs") from around the world, and will target three categories of connected devices:

  • home IoT devices (e.g connected camera systems);
  • health connected devices (e.g. connected scales, glucometers, etc. intended to collect health-related data); and
  • connected devices for well-being (e.g. connected watches and bracelets that can collect geolocation data, count footsteps, or analyze sleep quality).

The aim will be to verify the quality of the information provided to users, the level of security of the data flows, and the degree of user empowerment (e.g., user's consent, etc.).

Takeaways for Canadian Organizations

The extent of any new regulations and policies designed for the specific issues raised by the IoT remains to be seen. Consultation and study exercises on both sides of the border are seeking to reconcile the need to support the IoT's development (and the benefits to consumers and service users), while reasonably harnessing the risk of its intrusions. The level of interconnectivity facilitated by the IoT is not only a disruptive force for business, public, and convenience services, but necessitates the risk of single-point vulnerability for users and systems.

As these initiatives evolve into new policies and regulations, organizations will need to adapt their existing privacy standards and protocols to align with IoT rules and requirements. Moreover, present industry-established frameworks may not align with either the existing general standards or new IoT requirements. Organizations should be mindful of lawmakers' concerns to ensure that their use of data captured through the IoT technologies remains consistent with legal standards in the jurisdictions in which they operate.

As organizations enter the IoT space with their products and services, the importance of establishing a privacy management program to stay up to speed on legal developments can help to ensure that IoT participants integrate compliance requirements in a meaningful and systematic way.

To view original article, please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions