Managing the Opportunities and Risks of the IoT

IGF USA, Washington DC, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), July 14, 2016


  • Alan Davidson, Digital of Digital Economy, US Department of Commerce
  • Michelle DeMooy, Acting Director, Privacy and Data Project, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Ryan Hagemann, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Analyst, Niskanen Center
  • Dean Garfield, President and CEO, Information and Technology Industry Council
  • Jeff Brueggeman, Vice President of Global Public Policy for AT&T


  • Dan Caprio, Co-Founder, The Providence Group

Dan Caprio:

As part of IGF, we have an Internet of Things dynamic coalition that brings together stakeholders from all over the world. We created the IoT DC in 2008. At Joao Paseo during IGF 2015, we discussed a set of global best practices for the IoT recognizing an ecosystem of connected devices representing the future of the Internet itself. A careful balance must be struck between regulation and innovation; protecting privacy and security and enabling innovation. We face a large number of social benefits and challenges but it is important to stipulate that the IoT is still in its infancy and it is still evolving rapidly.
The goal of our panel today is to have a discussion on how we can build global trust in the internet of things, recognize the benefits and challenges that new technologies bring us, and to realize that the technology, while extremely exciting, itself is agnostic. When we have this discussion in the context of IGF, we must take a global approach.

Alan Davidson:

  • We are very excited about the IoT and its potential
  • On some level, this has always existed (exactly why it’s so difficult to understand now)
  • Things are really different in its scale and scope, with 3B people online, with 4X that number of devices connected
  • The scope is also part of what’s interesting
    • There are so many different devices involved, the economics of it are breathtaking.
    • Literally trillions of dollars of additional GDP coming from the IoT
  • We see huge opportunity and economic growth
  • The industrial IoT can help with productivity and supply chain dynamics
    • With those huge opportunities come important questions
      • Interoperability
      • Privacy
      • Cybersecurity
      • Transparency/Accountability
      • Spectrum Usage
      • Standards
  • What are we doing about it?
    • We’ve issued a request for comment.
    • We’re holding a workshop and issuing a report in the fall to talk about our findings.
    • What are the benefits, what are the challenges, and what’s the appropriate role of government?
    • How do we incentivize innovation here?
    • Recognition the IoT is global

There are a lot of benefits and challenges that we need to deal with involving the IoT, but it represents a huge opportunity the US economy. Therefore, the US Dept. of Commerce welcomes any and all opinions on this matter. We need to have collaboration with the private sector and civil society to achieve the potential of the IoT.

Michelle DeMooy

There are a lot of emerging parts of the internet of things that are posing some difficult questions

  • Health & Internet of Things
    • Fitbit
      • Map their internal research & Development
        • Especially for startups, the data that flows is the gasoline that fuels this entire piece of software and environment
        • Impacts how the company moves forward
        • We spent a year and a half working with Fitbit
        • Key Issues,
          • a. Individual Dignity & Ethics
            • A lot of privacy questions are becoming subjective to ethics
            • Important principle about consent, how to ask for information
          • b. Data Stewardship
            • b.i. This is important because we need companies to see themselves as active participants in this conversation that we’re having globally and that they have responsibilities
              • b.i.1. Allowing data access
                • b.i.1.a. In the health space, you also need to make it available to people
            • b.i.2. Companies need to have formal policies for sustainable practices
              • b.i.2.a. Pivot Points
                • b.i.2.a.i. Ask more questions, that we helped to come up with a rubric
                  • b.i.2.b. Social good

Identifies the various projects that CDT has been working on in the past year, with a focus on their partnership with Fitbit, and the results of those findings.

Ryan Hagemann:

  • Connecting human minds to one another = Internet 1.0
  • The evolution of that system was to link that connection to the physical world = 2.0
  • Makes sense to have a certain sense of continuity with government policy
  • Recommend NTIA create a US Strategy for the IoT using the 1997 Clinton Administration Framework for Global Electronic Commerce

    • Coordinate US strategy for the IoT
    • How should the government approach regulation?
      • Private sector should lead
      • Government should support a simplistic, productive, legal environment
      • Government should avoid burdensome regulations on this
    • Consumer trust is invaluable
  • IoT does not present a fundamentally new or different issue

Dean Garfield

  • The IoT will be completely transformative, NOT slowing down, IoT will blow that perception away
  • Next iteration of humanity will be changed by the IoT
  • Industries that we can’t even imagine that will be created.
  • This is an opportunity to improve on the internet in ways that we couldn’t contemplate because of what the internet has come to be
  • Opportunity to overcome digital divides
  • It was a fairly exclusive group of people that defined the internet when it first arrived
  • Not true for the IoT

We need to create an IoT that is INCLUSIVE BY DESIGN. The IoT produces near constant data on people. The IoT will produce data on all of us, providing a comprehensive view on the human race. The IoT is an opportunity to make innovation truly reflective in a way that represents inclusiveness.

Jeff Brueggeman

  • Applaud IGF for taking on this issue
  • AT&T has a very broad perspective on the IoT
    • We estimate that we have over 50 million devices connected to the internet of things
    • We are at the tip of the iceberg here
    • The IoT, including the Industrial IoT, is a vastly diverse set of technologies and devices (Cars, Shipping, Medical, Energy, Agriculture, Cities)
    • You can’t have a one size fits all solution with this
    • There are going to be a lot of IoT related things that won’t raise privacy concerns
    • We have a lot of devices connecting to the network
      • We need to do a lot more to connect throughout the ecosystem
      • Dept. of Commerce has an opportunity to examine these issues in a horizontal way