Broad range of NTIA comments reflect views on IoT


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A broad range of views on the likely impact of the explosive growth of the Internet of Things have been submitted in response to a request for comment by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The complete docket of comments, posted Monday, features the opinions of 131 organizations from tech heavy hitters and telecommunication companies, to internet advocacy groups, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Samsung, T-Mobile, Booz Allen Hamilton, Visa, the CIO of Illinois, and the Electric Frontier Foundation.

[Read more: Commerce looks for advice on IoT]

The Department will use the input it receives to build on its “broader agenda promoting economic growth and opportunity to help develop an approach that will foster IoT innovation,” the original request said.

The full list of comments can be found here, but here is a sampling of the most significant:

Illinois CIO:

The State of Illinois itself is working to become the first “smart state” by heavily investing in modern IT like big data analytics, cloud services and mobile technologies, so it’s not surprising they wanted to see a country driving towards new tech.  

“While we do not recommend burdensome regulation, we do support the government in its role of facilitating research, policy, convening and federal agency implementation of Internet of Things solutions,” Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt said in the comment.

Bhatt recommended NTIA to focus on  ensuring open, high quality data and accessible high speed broadband for use in rural areas as well as more open standards for technology and creating a Deputy CTO position. Changes like these would make IoT efficient and cheap for the government to use. 

[Read more: Illinois launches drive to become first ‘smart state’ using IoT]

Federal Trade Commission

Due to the inexpensive and disposable nature of IoT chips, the FTC warned in their comment many could be hacked or corrupted. And while your smart watch might be helpful in day-to-day life, it can give hackers data on your location or personal info. In disadvantaged and rural communities the lack of IoT access could even “lead to consumers being denied opportunities for education, employment or credit,” the FTC comment said.

As a result, the FTC recommends supporting federal data-security legislation to give FTC more enforcement tools and require all companies to notify customers about breaches.

AT&T Services, Inc.

Instead of heavy regulation, telecommunications company AT&T wanted to see more support for self-regulatory initiatives so competition and customers can drive the IoT growth the most. If regulation is needed, the RFC says, it should be very small and competitively-neutral.

AT&T also encouraged NTIA to create a national policy framework to “minimize regulatory burdens and provide the certainty that will promote the ongoing, robust network deployment,” according to their comment.

Other phone companies, like Verizon and Samsung made similar requests to create a policy framework and be wary of government regulations. 

5G Americas

5G Americas, an industry trade organization advocating for wireless technology providers, highlighted the importance of available spectrum, the invisible wavelengths IoT devices need to work. The more IoT devices, the more spectrum is needed.

“To best accommodate the variety of applications within IoT, the industry needs a broad range of additional spectrum for continued development,” the trade group’s comment said. “Additional spectrum— with flexible use rules—is vital for the United States to retain its leadership in innovative wireless applications.”

National Emergency Number Association and the National Association of State 911 Administrators

Public safety groups NENA and the NASNA recommended updating to “Next Generation 911,” a native-IP platform that would modernize the emergency response system, which would help in the massive overhauls needed to their infrastructure and standards. With the updates, safety responders could act faster and save more lives.

[Read more: GIS group plans push for national address database, next generation 911 expansion]

“Moreover, without the platform efficiencies provided by NG911 availability, the U.S. economy could miss-out on both increased profits derived from novel products and services, and from the decreased costs associated with improved emergency responses…” the joint comment said.

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Agencies, Commerce Department, Cybersecurity, Departments, Federal Trade Commission, Government IT News, Next generation 911, open government, Regulations & Oversight, spectrum, Tech
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