Trade Titans Tell Congress to be Wary of Policing the Internet of Things

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 30, 2015

During the early days of the commercial web, and for many years after, there were many disputes over legislation related to the freeness and openness of the web. Disputes arose around everyting from the Communications Decency Act to Net Neutrality, and the debates still rage.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping up to be the next big renaissance in connectivity. The worldwide Internet of Things market will grow to $1.7 trillion in 2020 from $655.8 billion in 2014, researchers at IDC say, as more devices come online and more platforms and services take shape around them. And now, trade groups are urging the U.S. Congress to be wary of too much government intervetnion in IoT development.

There are many hot issues surrounding the Internet of Things, and one of them is privacy. If everything from your potted plants to your television is connected to the cloud, how do you know your personal privacy will be protected?

As Nextgov reports:

"The Internet of Things could be more dangerous than consumers think when they install Nest thermostats or other convenient digital devices, some members of Congress argued during a recent hearing."

 Members of Congress have taken note of the fact that millions of consumers choose to give up private information about their habits and patterns to insurance companies in exchange for lower insurance rates. Will the Internet of Things call for similar compromises?

As Computerworld reports:

"The IoT industry offers great potential for growth and for innovative new products, but that growth "requires government restraint," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, told lawmakers Wednesday."

"Government has a role in an ongoing debate about issues such as who owns the data moving over the IoT, but decisions about security and privacy should be driven by vendors, Shapiro told the Internet subcommittee of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee."

There will be many more debates like this. Of course, we've been noting that there are concerns about security and IoT, especially as security standards are still in their infancy. New devices reaching out to emerging types of networks introduce new ways to attack enterprise networks, a new study by OpenDNS reports.

We also recently interviewed Philip DesAutels, who oversees The AllSeen Alliance, focused on IoT. He is seen above. 

DesAutels works with Alliance members to advance the Internet of Everything by building out an open source software framework, AllJoyn, to seamlessly connect a range of objects and devices in homes, cars and businesses. He oversees and guides all aspects of the Alliance, from governance and technology, to the developer community and marketing efforts.

He said:

"In five years, I think all of this will be around us everywhere, in everything. Predictions that were made three and four years ago have already come true in terms of the ubiquity of bandwidth, connectivity, the availability of radios, and more. We are going to have a lot of power to orchestrate the experiences that we want.”

“The next phase is going to be the really transformational phase. Systems around you will have a whole lot more information. They’ll be able to deliver a lot more value.”