Connectivity, smart technologies, and consumer data

Consumers demand connectivity and smart features for a growing range of products – from appliances to toothbrushes and even apparel.

Businesses are striving to monetize and otherwise tap into the value of the data delivered by smart and connected devices.

The data protection and cybersecurity legal landscape is changing rapidly. Regulators, enforcement authorities, and policymakers are scrutinizing how companies collect, use, and share consumers’ personal data. Laws and regulations are proliferating at the national, state, and local levels.

All the while, cyber criminals, advanced persistent threat groups, and others are looking to exploit potential vulnerabilities in the connected ecosystem.

Businesses must consider whether data was collected lawfully, whether service providers and business partners processing personal information are trustworthy, whether data processing is consistent with legal and contractual requirements, and whether information and systems are reasonably secure. Some of the specific issues likely to make the headlines in 2019 include:

  • The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This year likely will bring increased enforcement as regulators acclimate to the new regime. Look-alike frameworks will emerge across the globe as countries seek adequacy determinations from the EU.
  • Biometrics. Biometrics support security and convenience. But the sensitivity of biometric data has led to scrutiny from regulators and class-action litigation in the United States, focusing on Illinois’ notice and consent requirements.
  • Audio and Video Sensors. Audiovisual features are in high demand. But they can lead to unintended or nefarious covert surveillance.
  • Data sharing. California’s comprehensive new privacy law and media headlines demonstrate that consumers and policymakers are increasingly concerned about the sharing of data with advertisers, research groups, and others.

To succeed and mitigate risk, businesses must have forward-thinking programs in place to assess and mitigate risk and to nimbly respond to incidents should they occur.


In this year’s edition of Consumer Horizons, the Hogan Lovells global Consumer team identifies trends that will impact food and beverages companies, fashion and luxury goods producers, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and other consumer companies throughout 2019.

Download Consumer Horizons 2019 by registering here.


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