The Internet of Things (IoT) has been an emerging technology that is now rapidly coming to fruition, recognized by Gartner in 2014 to come to the top of the technology hype cycle … and staying there in 2015.
“Networked technology is spreading rapidly from traditional devices to everyday items, and even to the spaces in which we live. Before long, online functionality will be ubiquitous in the most commonplace objects, allowing them to identify, communicate and cooperate with one another.“
As was recognized during the World Economic Forum in January 2015, the “phenomenon known as the Ínternet of Things’” will touch all. And whereas this brings many promises for a future that is yet to unfold, it also comes with challenges to all stakeholders, in particular related to dealing with security, safety, and governance, and related to the trust of people from different regions and cultures in the world.
Since the 3rd Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Hydrabad (2008), IoT has been on the agenda for multistakeholder discussions of all IGFs, and the Dynamic Coalition on IoT continues to raise attention for the potential as well as challenges of the emergence of a world in which increasing amounts of sensors and actuators connected to the Internet and collect, act and share data, with other things and people.
During the meeting in Istanbul (2014) the following issues were put on the table (see 2014 meeting report): the need to ensure privacy, security, ethics, and spectrum issues, and to develop standards that take both social and economic sustainability of networks into account. Networks should be developed in a way people want (people centric values) and in such a way that upgrades, changes of services providers and new applications are possible and affordable.
2015 the discussion focused most on security and privacy, but above all: about ensuring IoT is to contribute to a “world we want our children to live in”. In this, the term “Internet of Things” has been confusing for some, yet in the understanding of most people participating to the DC IoT discussions it embraces “everything that is connected” (and is not human). It will be important to open doors to other communities which are currently not involved but have similar discussions of cross cutting issues. At the IGF, DC IoT discussed a Good Practice paper that called for “IoT going ethical” as to find a sustainable way ahead that would help create this “world we want our children to live in” – a debate that we found needs input from all stakeholders, from all parts of the world.
In 2016 the dialogue continued, bringing in more stakeholders to further the understanding of Good Practice from a global multistakeholder perspective. Focus was even more on a digitized society and the availability and use of data. It was also pointed out that application in developing countries has become quite feasible and doable with relatively easy-to-use and affordable technology, and the first successful applications are emerging. The Good Practice paper that has been discussed online and in Dynamic Coalition meetings in Joao Pessoa during IGF2015, in Brussels during EuroDIG 2016, and in DC during IGF USA 2016 was edited based on these discussions and input to the session at IGF2016 in Guadalajara.
In 2017, we discussed further solidifying the stakeholder participation in the Dynamic Coalition and in agreeing on specific steps forward, where deemed most useful. In addition, we discussed most recent developments. The Good Practice paper has been updated following this. Participation is free to all stakeholders who want to contribute to furthering the insights in what IoT global good practice should be in order to be trusted and usable.
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The Draft Statement DC IoT to IGF, Good Practice Paper, as of May 2017, can be found here for download as PDF-File or as editable Word-File.