Ethical Practices for the Internet of Things

Summary of July 16, 2015 IGF USA Panel on “Ethical Practices for the Internet of Things”


  • Nuala O’Conner, President and CEO, The Center for Democracy and Techology
  • Jeff Green, Vice President for Security Policy, Symantec
  • Peter Erickson, CEO, MoDev
  • Sokwoo Rhee, Presidential Innovation Fellow, Cyber Physical Systems, National Institute for Standards and Teechnology (NIST)


  • Dan Caprio, Co-Founder, The Providence Group

The panelists and roughly 30 people in the audience joined in a lively, wide-ranging conversation about the myriad opportunities and challenges of the Internet of Things tying the discussion into the IGF Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things currently drafting an “ethical practices framework for the IoT.” Nuala O’Conner began the discussion by stating the IoT is the Internet of People advocating for privacy and security by design at the outset. Sokwoo Rhee made the point that much of the IoT is not new clarifying that the IoT is a concept of connectivity. Jeff Green asked the relevant security question which is can we connect to it (the IoT) and should we connect to it. Pete Erickson discussed the notion of ethical innovation based upon three pillars relying upon the individual, industry and government enforcement of existing law.
Panelists and audience members agreed that “ethical practices” for the IoT or an “ethical framework” or best practices for the IoT needs to be contextual, practical, voluntary, interoperable and facilitated by government, civil society and industry. Panelists agreed that such a positive and proactive framework needs to focus on the uses of data and not demonize the technology itself.