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Mastering Internet of Things by Peter Waher

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Understanding ownership of physical objects

Before we define ownership of information, let's first look at how ownership of physical objects is defined and enforced, to see if we can mimic it for information as well.

If you own something, how do you enforce your ownership of this thing in the general case? Certain types of items, such as vehicles or real estate, have central registries where ownership is defined, and where third parties can go to verify ownership claims. Valuable things can also be registered in a similar manner, by sending information and photographic evidence of the things to an insurance company, for instance. In that way, claims of ownership can be verified.

But how do you enforce ownership of less valuable things? If ...

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