The aim of the law is to maintain social order, peace, and justice in society, whereas the aim of ethics is to provide codes of ethics and conduct that help people to decide what is wrong, and how to act and behave. Laws provide a minimum set of standards for obtaining good human behavior. Ethics often provides standards that exceed the legal minimum. Therefore, for the best behavior, both law and ethics should be respected. The Internet of Things (IoT) involves a large number of objects and humans that are connected via the Internet ‘anytime’ and ‘anyplace’ to provide homogeneous communication and contextual services. Thus, it creates a new social, economic, political, and ethical landscape that needs new enhanced legal and ethical measures for privacy protection, data security, ownership protection, trust improvement, and the development of proper standards. This survey and opinion article is concerned with the ethics and legislation of the IoT and provides an overview of the following: definition and history of the IoT; general ethical principles and theories that are available for application in the IoT; the role of governments in the IoT; regulations in the European Union (EU) and United States for the IoT’ IoT characteristics that have the potential to create ethical problems; IoT ethical questions and principles; IoT security, privacy, and trust aspects; and the ethical culture of IoT-related companies.
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