SEATTLE—The US Department of Commerce (DoC) wants to encourage the digital economy and ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation, and is looking for help. Working through its National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the DoC is initiating an inquiry regarding the Internet of Things (IoT) and what role, if any, the US Government should play in the IoT's development. You have through May 23 to give them your ideas and opinions.
The DoC made a call for public comments in last week’s Federal Register on “the benefits, challenges, and potential roles for the Government in fostering the advancement of the Internet of Things.” The Department's goal is to review the current technological and policy landscape for the IoT and prepare a “green paper” on the topic. The paper will aim to identify key issues impacting IoT deployment, highlight potential benefits and challenges, and identify possible roles for the federal government in fostering IoT advancement in partnership with the private sector.
According to the Federal Register call for comments, the DoC already recognizes the IoT's enormous potential for providing health, safety, environmental, commercial, and other benefits, including the rise of new industries. It also recognizes potential challenges regarding safety and security in the IoT that have begun to generate initial thinking and policy responses both within and outside of governments in the US and abroad. Regarding these responses, the call notes, the DoC is concerned that “country specific strategies threaten the possibility of a global patchwork of approaches to the IoT which would increase costs and delay the launch of new products and services, dampening investment.”
Through this call for comments, the Department intends to use a holistic economic perspective to craft an approach to the IoT that will best foster innovation and growth. To this end, the Department is requesting comments on 28 questions, such as:
- Are the challenges and opportunities arising from IoT similar or different from those that governments and societies have previously addressed? How?
- What definitions should we use in examining the IoT landscape and why?
- With respect to current or planned laws, regulations, and/or policies that apply to the IoT, are there examples that foster or unnecessarily inhibit IoT development and deployment?
- What technological issues, such as interoperability and spectrum availability, may hinder development of the IoT and what can the government do, if anything, to help mitigate these issues?
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