Congress

Internet of Things on docket for new Congress

Shutterstock image: a global system of information relays.

There are plenty of issues the 114th Congress will need to address when it convenes in January -- immigration, jobs, taxes -- and perhaps one more with a slightly lower profile: the Internet of Things.

At a Dec. 4 event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, D.C., Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), both members of the Commerce Committee, said that panel will be having a conversation about the Internet of Things right off the bat.

"There is tremendous opportunity for us as we look at the new Congress to examine the Internet of Things, and that's why I've asked for a hearing specifically on this topic," Ayotte said. "This is going to be a very, very critical topic for our committee."

The focus is likely to be on how the federal government regulates the universe of networks and devices connected to Internet infrastructure.

"New technologies shouldn't be tied to old red tape," Fisher said. "The FDA still depends on a 1976 definition of a medical device."

Ayotte suggested the regulatory framework for the Internet of Things amounts to a relic from the dark ages.

Advances in technology and the ever-expanding sphere of the federal government have created a target-rich environment for regulation and, therefore, investigation: medical device apps at the FDA; commercial drones at the Federal Aviation Administration; and intelligent vehicle technology at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are but a few examples.

"I think it's entirely appropriate for the U.S. government to think about how to modernize its regulatory frameworks," Fischer said. "We're destined to lose to the Chinese or others if the Internet of Things is governed in the United States by rules that pre-date our VCRs."

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.