Look who's here to solve the Internet of Things' security nightmare – hey, it's Uncle Sam

Commerce department asking for input on its role

The US government is working on a "green paper" – the first step in a formal policy process – on the internet of things (IoT).

Titled "The Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things," the policy paper will take a broad look [PDF] at the "potential benefits and challenges" of IoT. The government is looking for input from everyone including business, civil society and the technical community.

The department behind the work will be the same one that oversees the internet – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the Commerce Department – and it has identified a number of issues it wants to focus on. They include:

  • What the "key issues" are that impact the deployment of IoT.
  • IoT's "potential benefits and challenges." We can already think of some.
  • Possible roles for the federal government in helping to push IoT technologies.

While the formal announcement notes that there is no agreed definition of what the "internet of things" means, it does argue that it is agreed that the number of connected devices will grow exponentially, and with it a dramatic increase in economic impact.

It also notes that IoT is going to have a very broad impact across society and that numerous government departments have started looking into aspects of its impact, but that the response is very far from coherent or coordinated. The goal of the green paper, presumably, will be to start to make sense of all the changes and give the US government a foundational startpoint for how it deals with the networks of the future.

The notice then provides no fewer than 28 questions through which the NTIA is hoping to formulate this policy. They range from proposed definitions, to how to get technologies to interoperate, to ways to get people working together both within the US and internationally on global solutions.

Anyone can send their thoughts to the NTIA through a dedicated email address – iotrfc2016@ntia.doc.gov – between now and the deadline of May 23. You can read the full explanation and all its related questions in the Federal Register [PDF]. ®

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