US Department of Commerce wants change in policy towards IoT

US Department of Commerce wants change in policy towards IoT

US Department of Commerce wants change in policy towards IoT
U.S. Department of Commerce wants change in policy towards IoT

The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a report yesterday proposing steps the government can take to foster the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) while meeting its challenges.

The ‘Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things’ green paper outlines the need for the U.S. government to move away from its typically laissez-faire approach to the technology market to a more interventionist approach for the advancement of IoT.

The paper was developed following the department’s Request for Comment from stakeholders in the private sector, academia, government and civil society in April 2016, to assess: “The Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things.”

The report outlines possible steps for a federal coordination structure for IoT because of its ‘complex, interdisciplinary, cross-sector nature’.

New principles

The Department of Commerce said it will take a ‘cautious and thoughtful approach’ to foster the benefits of the Internet of Things, recognizing that the government has a role in policy and regulation of IoT but also as an enabler and adopter of the technology.

With a particular focus on cyber-security and privacy, the department report said it will lead efforts to ensure the IoT environment is widely accessible to all consumers and businesses by working with stakeholders at the ‘local, tribal, state, federal, and international levels.’

To achieve that aim, the report outlined four key areas for engagement:

  • Enabling Infrastructure Availability and Access: Fostering the physical and spectrum related assets needed to support IoT growth and advancement
  • Crafting Balanced Policy and Building Coalitions: Removing barriers to IoT and encouraging coordination and collaboration by promoting norms and best practices that will illustrate the business case for adoption
  • Promoting Standards and Technology Advancement: Ensuring that the necessary technical standards are developed to support global IoT interoperability and that the technical applications and devices continue to advance
  • Encouraging Markets: Promoting the advancement of connected technologies by the department leading the way with IoT usage

Related: US Government failing to invest in the Internet of Things, says report

Creating an environment for IoT to thrive

Commenters in the Request for Comment urged the government to avoid over-regulation that could stifle innovation.

To do so, the report suggests a focus on collaboration between private sector and government, and, where government involvement is needed, ‘it should support and enforce a predictable, minimalist, consistent and simple legal environment for commerce.’

Commenting on the report, U.S. commerce secretary, Penny Pritzker, said: “The Internet of Things promises to revolutionize our world from increasing efficiency and convenience for industry, consumers, and government to improving safety.”

This “report affirms the Department’s commitment to creating the conditions for emerging technologies to thrive, and it identifies future actions necessary to support the evolution and expansion of the IoT.”

More analysis to follow. Want to share your views? Email [email protected].

Related: US govt issues Internet of Things cyber-security guidelines