Congress

Issa: Better standards needed for IoT

Rep. Darrell Issa

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said developing standards for the Internet of Things would help protect privacy while encouraging innovation.

The former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has turned his attention to the Internet of Things and is stressing the need for better standards and privacy protections as the number of connected IoT devices explodes.

"Private-sector industry develops standards that we can rely on," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who now leads the House Judiciary Committee's Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee, at an IoT event on May 10.

In government and industry alike, Issa said, "we need a standard of what is my information being used for?"

He noted that the balance between protecting privacy and encouraging innovation can be tricky, but by saying no to everything, the "real benefits of IoT come crumbling down."

Federal Trade Commissioner Terrell McSweeny made a similar point in February when he said the biggest challenge for IoT oversight is getting the "balance right between protecting consumers and optimizing innovation."

Issa said an additional challenge is that many people don't want to read through the terms of service before signing up for something and essentially sign away the rights to their data.

Jim McCarthy, Visa's executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, urged Congress to take action and address fast-moving technology advancements. However, he also cautioned that prescriptive legislation could be obsolete before it's even completed and agreed with Issa that the emphasis should be on standards.

"Without standards, you end up fighting over the wrong thing," McCarthy said.

Justin Brookman, policy director at the FTC's Office of Technology Research and Investigation, said that when it comes to security and IoT, true solutions are challenging, expensive and just "not quite there yet."

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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