An Exploration of Strict Products Liability and the Internet of Things

21 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2018

See all articles by Benjamin Dean

Benjamin Dean

Center for Democracy and Technology

Date Written: March 13, 2018


Internet connectivity, software, and autonomous capabilities are increasingly integrated into all manner of devices and objects, creating the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). Historically, products with these digital components and capabilities have not had sufficient security measures incorporated into their design. In the past, strict products liability has not tended to apply to the designers, manufacturers, and/or retailers of digital products. This will change because failures of increasingly ubiquitous IoT devices are likely to have consequences such as damage to property, personal harm, or even death. These consequences trigger the potential for application of strict product liability.

This paper explains the market failures that lead to persistently poor cybersecurity, the reasons that strict product liability is likely to apply to harm caused by failure of IoT devices, and provides a roadmap for future research in this area.

Keywords: internet of things, liability, product, strict, harm, damage, economics, cyber, tort

Suggested Citation

Dean, Benjamin, An Exploration of Strict Products Liability and the Internet of Things (March 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Benjamin Dean (Contact Author)

Center for Democracy and Technology ( email )

1634 Eye Street NW, #1100
Washington, DC 20006
United States

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