ACM U.S. Public Policy Council Comments on the Internet of Things

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
June 3, 2016

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on the potential benefits and challenges of the Internet of Things and what role the U.S. Government should play in this area. NTIA will use the public input to issue a “green paper” that identifies key issues impacting deployment of these technologies, highlights potential benefits and challenges, and identifies possible roles for the federal government in fostering the advancement of IoT technologies in partnership with the private sector.

Highlights from USACM’s comments on the Internet of Things:

Defining IoT
Given the current and expected technologies, USACM cautions against prematurely adopting a definition. USACM encourages further discussion among government and stakeholders, including businesses, academia, professional societies, consumer advocates, nonprofits, and other civil society organizations on what encompasses the IoT landscape and how it relates to or differs from other related systems.

Cybersecurity Concerns Raised Specifically by IoT
The multifaceted nature of IoT brings with it a new set of opportunities and threats. Specific concerns raised by IoT are marked by the pervasiveness and heterogeneity of IoT devices and sensors. IoT crosses virtual boundaries as devices and sensors are now intertwined with consumers’ lives in the physical world. Security threats with IoT have broader implications of physical security and safety risks.

Privacy Concerns about IoT and Related Technical Considerations
Meeting the dual imperatives of protecting privacy and security will be an issue for IoT and raises questions on the relationship between cybersecurity and privacy risks. Many privacy risks are interdependent with other types of risks, data actions, and processes. Addressing privacy concerns will entail an understanding of the way privacy risks work in tandem with security risks so as to address risks comprehensively. Five major considerations should be technically addressed within the IoT infrastructure and these include data integrity, identity management, trust management, data protection, and data volume.

Factors to Consider in International Engagement
USACM encourages the Department to consider engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including from government, the business sector, academia, nonprofits, professional associations, consumer advocates, and civil society. USACM supports involvement of the United States in bilateral and multilateral engagements, international standards processes, and efforts to develop and incentivize voluntary marketplace measures. In particular, USACM supports the involvement of the United States in international standards and processes for cybersecurity and privacy.

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About the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council
These comments were developed by the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM), which serves as the focal point for ACM’s interaction with the U.S. government in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology. The membership of the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council is comprised of computer scientists, educators, researchers, and other technology professionals. ACM U.S. Public Policy Council statements represent the views of the Council and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association.

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