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IoT: policies towards 2025

20.11.2015

Technology is deeply invading every aspect of society. “Being connected” to the Internet has become the norm in large parts of the world – whether by computer, tablet or smart phone, and this is now also increasingly true for “things”. The European Commission has been exploring and supporting innovation in this field in its research programmes and policy papers for more than a decade. In accordance with the principles of the treaties, the Commission aims to make sure that the development of the IoT does not compromise the fundamental values on which European society is based and helps address societal issues.

This Policy Whitepaper on IoT builds on the policy paper that was released as D5.2, and is updated with public comments on the D5.2 work which has been discussed in a number of forums, both at relevant conferences and workshops, and on-line, and recent relevant developments related to IoT and data. The recurring theme in this paper is "trusted IoT" and “human dignity” and includes reflections on topics such as big data / data protection, "security" and "ethical issues by design" that are crucial in this aspect.

Main conclusion of the dialogue so far is that an ethical way forward is the only way to ensure IoT development and deployment can happen in a sustainable way, supporting both society and business in the long run. The challenge for the coming year will be to determine what “ethical” means at a global level, and how such an approach can be realised, world-wide (governance aspect). The draft IoT Good Practice Declaration to the IGF expresses this and will function as a vehicle for further dialogue on this.

The Paper concludes with a number of concrete policy recommendations for IoT innovation to take place within a responsible and ethical framework, and at the same time will be stimulated to attract even more investment over the years to come. IoT should “go ethical” to be able to fulfil the promise it holds towards the future, globally: both for business, as for society as a whole!

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