A bipartisan Senate foursome introduced a resolution Thursday in support the Internet of Things — the massive interconnection of devices, sensors and networks — and the economic benefits it could bring the U.S.
Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, resolved that the U.S. should develop a national strategy in support of IoT. The senators wrote the strategy should encourage “the development of the Internet of Things in a way that maximizes the promise connected technologies hold to empower consumers, foster future economic growth, and improve our collective social well-being.”
Likewise, the senators emphasized accelerating IoT development and letting private industry take a vital role in the direction of the market.
“[T]he United States should recognize the importance of consensus-based best practices and communication among stakeholders, with the understanding that businesses can play an important role in the future development of the Internet of Things,” the resolution says.
Ayotte pressed for minimizing regulations as the Internet of Things develops.
“Innovation and free-market principles must drive our hands-off regulatory approach, not overregulation,” she said in a statement. “The Internet of Things resolution would encourage new opportunities to harness the power of the Internet and develop innovative solutions for people and businesses.”
Just last month, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held an Internet of Things hearing, during which industry IoT advocates pressed for a framework that nurtures the system’s growth. That hearing was initiated by a letter written in October by the same four senators who authored this new resolution.
Booker spoke during the hearing, addressing security and privacy fears.
“We should be doing everything possible to encourage this and doing nothing to restrict it,” he said in February. “There’s a lot of legitimate fear, but in the same way that in every technological era there must have been incredible fears. Starting the airline industry — just human beings taking flight — had tremendous fears. For us to do anything to inhibit that leap in humanity to me seems unfortunate.”
Intel Corp., which was represented by Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT Douglas Davis at last month’s hearing, applauded the resolution Thursday, saying a “a national vision to promote economic growth” through IoT would ensure “that US innovation will remain at the forefront of the IoT economy.” Davis testified in favor of a national framework at the February hearing.
The Federal Trade Commission is looking also at the Internet of Things, particularly from the consumer’s standpoint. In January the FTC released an extensive report on IoT’s security and privacy implications. And much to the chagrin of industry advocates, it recommended baseline privacy standards made in a 2012 privacy report that some fear might limit IoT innovation.