Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wanted to dramatize how hard GPS surveillance would be for our nation’s founders to envision. It would take a “very tiny constable,” he noted in concurrence with the majority in United States v. Jones, “with incredible fortitude and patience” to stow away on a stage coach and monitor its owner’s movements. Here, I focus on the more plausible prospect of a very tiny salesperson. Specifically, I ask what it would mean for consumers if their everyday objects tried to sell them products and services — an uncomfortably realistic consequence of the “Internet of Things.”
The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.