Congress

Senate passes bill to establish IoT working group

IoT fuels next-gen law enforcement 

The Senate passed legislation Jan. 8 that would establish an interagency panel to help prepare government and the private sector for the era of IoT.

The Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, introduced last year by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), would direct the Secretary of Commerce to convene a working group composed of federal stakeholders to study the ongoing explosion of growth in connected devices.

The panel would be charged with identifying federal regulations, statutes, grant practices, budgetary and jurisdictional challenges that may inhibit the development or deployment of IoT and how federal agencies could benefit from greater reliance on connected devices. It would also look into what kind of new security measures might be necessary for critical infrastructure and examine strategies to better coordinate cybersecurity policies across the federal government. The group would have a year to study the issue before delivering a report to Congress.

In addition to Fischer, the bill has a number of cosponsors, including Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

"As America moves toward an increasingly connected future, the DIGIT Act will ensure that we remain a technological leader," said Fischer in a statement. "I am grateful for the work of the bipartisan Senate IoT Working Group on this bill, which would spur innovative solutions across industries to benefit our nation's families, communities, and businesses."

The Department of Commerce would have discretion over who sits on the working group, though the bill specifies it should draw from the Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security, Energy, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Senate wants the group to focus on situations where IoT can deliver "significant and scalable economic and societal benefits to the United States," such as smart traffic and transit technologies, augmented logistics and supply chain, precision agriculture, environmental monitoring, public safety and health care. It also wants input on whether there is sufficient spectrum available to support the billions of new connected devices expected to come online through 2030.

There is currently no companion bill in the House for the legislation. A spokesperson for Fischer told FCW they are having ongoing discussions with House counterparts to line up potential sponsors.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a senior staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


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