Policy Action

When developing technologies and services relating to the Internet of Things, it is crucial to recognise that this is not a technology experiment in itself but it will need to be done with full awareness of choices made in society. In order to guide the work on technology roadmaps, SMART-ACTION will take full account of relevant policy aspects, whether based on “IoT helping to address societal needs” or on “societal challenges relating to the deployment of IoT”.

These issues are global by nature. Whereas the focus will be on European policy issues, we will take the global nature of development of the Internet and related technologies fully into account. Issues range from governance, to ethics, privacy, and security issues.

Next to a multi-stakeholder dialogue in Europe, which will focus on members of the IERC (IoT European Research Cluster) and actively involving people with policy, legal and economic backgrounds, the dialogue will extend to the global level, with a focus on but not limited to the Dynamic Coalition on IoT of the Internet Governance Forum.

The governance issues relating to the IoT are mostly those of the Internet at large. 2014 in a crucial year in this perspective, with important meetings taking place that focus on how to further improve the global multi-stakeholder process while recognizing the huge differences in economic, cultural and political situations around the world. While the multi-stakeholder approach is widely recognized as crucial (all involved in making it happen need to be at the table), the global search is for balance in participation between companies, governments and specific interest groups at the decision level.

With regards to privacy and data protection, the world is looking at Europe for how our privacy and data protection legislation will further evolve. Whereas the revision of the data protection legislation, originating from 1995, is subject to a major reform since 2012, the search for the right wording to support a balance between “protecting your personal data - a fundamental right!” and “the free flow of personal data - a common good!” has not ended, yet. The Snowden revelations that led to a public awareness of monitoring of data streams by governments have led to further developments.

Security concerns relate to the fact that the IoT will provide new end points for attacks – even into your own kitchen, car, or health systems all of which will contain more and more actuators triggered autonomously by sensor information, and possibly by people using the systems for targeted attacks. In addition, networks of sensors will extend data collection to an increasing part of our work, taking away the option to “opt out”.

“Technology is not good or bad in itself: it is the way is is used”. True. And it has become more clear than ever that technology can be developed in such a way that it takes societal needs into account from the outset. We will facilitate a dialogue between technology innovators and policy makers to help create the best possible future in which we appreciate what the IoT brings to society.

Should you want to contribute and/or be part of these coordination activities please send a mail to policy@REMOVETHISPART.smart-action.eu.