Internet of things: the end of information compartmentalization

States regulation

In order to deter abuse of power, states regulate relations between natural and/or legal persons according to their Constitution fundamental values.

Without this, social actors may easily be destabilized: an elected member and thus his community, a CEO and thus his company, or even a whole industry through a coordinated action.

No general protection against the collection and use of citizens’ data

In the US, the federal state promoted a limited legal protection for citizens’ data collection and use. Most federal laws protecting personal data were enacted at the end of the 20th century.

For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which regulates the use and disclosure of protected health information was enacted in 1996, but the effective compliance date was in April the 14th, 2003.
In 1998, the federal state enacted the Children Privacy Protection Act to protect children’s online data from abuse.
There is no general protection against the US citizens’ data mass collection and use.

The continuous appropriation of rights on true personal data by private companies

This legal situation suits perfectly certain companies, particularly those which goal is to make money by using citizens’ rights on their data.

These companies keep on extending the way they use citizens’ data. To do that, they increasingly use a unique contract per user instead of a contract per software and per user.

With the massive spread of unsecure connected devices (services), when accepting the terms of use of these companies’ free*applications, the user gives them his rights on his true data for ever.
As these are given up willingly, the federal law doesn’t protect him: this is the legal breach.

As those companies’ software are more and more used, even the best skilled citizens cannot protect themselves anymore: stopping using them would increase too much the cost on their time, money or workforce productivity.

For the same reasons, private and public organizations cannot free themselves of these software.

The consequences for the citizens

Private and public organizations may get access to personal information directly from these companies. This situation impacts the citizen whole life.

Organized restriction of opportunity

For example, a citizen giving access to his health information may be only targeted by ads of medical treatments he is supposed to be able to afford.

Moreover, it is feasible for a company collecting and using health information to offer a service dedicated to companies’ human resources services increasing their power of negotiation when recruiting or firing.

The impossible respect of the duty of confidentiality

The respect of the duty of confidentiality requires to be able to know who can and who cannot get access to an information and its related information.

It has become impossible for a person to protect a military secret as required in the Military secret act if he owns an Android or iPhone smartphone and is in contact with other people in the same project: the person’s interlocutors list is part of the personal data offered for sale by Google/Apple. This is a breach of confidentiality.

The consequences for the legal persons

The compartmentalization of personal information, a prerequisite for doing business, depends on the legal compartmentalization of natural persons doing business.

Governmental spying agencies collect massively data, and give access to them to their allies. The legal persons’ information are then shared by various states. They are no longer under their state’s legal protection: once shared, the receiving state provides no legal protection.

Actually, the consequence of the end of compartmentalization of personal information is the disclosure of companies’ confidential information.

The consequences for the state sovereignty

This dynamic system, in which legal persons are spied by numerous states, affects faster the states which are weak in industrial espionage, international negotiation on information exchanges or in technical networks espionage.
However, all states are affected negatively insofar as their society requires the legal compartmentalization of information.

States destabilization

States industries and leaders are destabilized. The social contract organizing the society is modified, generating markets shares moves. The companies best placed to capture such a market are always the ones already adapted to the end of information compartmentalization.

Those are not local companies, which would respect the local social contract including compartmentalization.

This means favored companies are from other countries, with a different social contract, pay their main taxes in other countries and have strategic interests in other countries.
This process is a vicious circle as it weakens the local companies paying taxes and respecting the society’s local values.
The power of states lies in their ability to levy taxes on their internal organizations et impose the respect of their laws.

The end of the compartmentalization of information is thus a direct threat to the states sovereignty.

*As in unpaid software, not as in Free Software