US experts ask for regulations on IoT security

10 Nov 2016

In the light of recent cyber-attacks involving Internet of Things (IoT) devices, experts in the USA are asking for governmental intervention, in the form of regulations and public policy to improve IoT security. Such regulation would cover issues related to security standards, interoperability, and software updates requirements, among others. Supporters of governmental regulation argue that the tech companies are mostly concerned about commercial interests, and that they are not sufficiently motivated to appropriately address the problem. Others, however, draw attention to the fact that IoT is a wide concept, and any regulation in this area would have to be broad enough to cover the various sectors and products.

Explore the issues

The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.

 

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