Beckerman: “In regulating the Internet of Things, policymakers should maintain the same flexibility to support innovation and growth that has made the U.S. a world leader in internet-driven technology and commerce over the past two decades.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association submitted a comment to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), as part of the Department of Commerce Digital Economy Agenda.
The comment voices support for a flexible, bottom-up approach to regulating the Internet of Things (IoT), which the McKinsey Global Institute estimates will have an economic impact greater than $3.9 trillion by 2025. Internet Association member companies provide the cloud infrastructure that helps power the IoT evolution, in addition to the design and manufacture of IoT devices such as Nest thermostats, Amazon Echo, and Oculus Rift.
“The Internet of Things is the next evolution of the internet, and it will jumpstart new and innovative ways that businesses and consumers interact with technology,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “In regulating the Internet of Things, policymakers should maintain the same flexibility to support innovation and growth that has made the U.S. a world leader in internet-driven technology and commerce over the past two decades.”
The comment argues that regulating the IoT should be seen as a gap-filling exercise, as opposed to wholesale legislative and regulatory changes. “New laws and regulations should only be contemplated… as absolutely necessary and narrowly tailored to fill in critical gaps,” the comment states.
The Internet Association supports the development of open standards, allowing consumers to reap the full benefits of technologies and reducing barriers of entry for non-traditional internet companies and start-ups. Importantly, any standard-setting model should be private sector-led, open, voluntary, consensus-based, and nimble. The government has a role to play in encouraging industry standards and interoperability, but industry should drive the work.
Lastly, the Internet Association encourages flexibility in approaches to privacy and data security, and argues that encryption, data transparency, and data security practices will play an important role. The IoT “will create a greater need for flexible but robust approaches to online privacy and data security. In order for the economic benefits of the Internet of Things to be realized, privacy and data security practices will need to be robust enough to foster trust between consumers and device makers…At the same time, approaches to privacy and data security must also be flexible enough to allow for continued innovation in the Internet of Things space…Fortunately, however, the U.S internet industry and government have proven adept at striking this balance in the past, and the essential building blocks needed to establish end-user trust are already available. These building blocks include encryption technology, industry best practices for transparency in data use practices and data security, and the Federal Trade Commission’s time-tested, comprehensive policy and enforcement frameworks,” the comment states.
The comment also speaks to the mounting threat patent trolls pose to growth and innovation in the IoT space.
To read the full comment, click here.