10th Meeting of the Internet of Things Expert Group

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Internet of Things Expert Group, 10th Meeting of the Internet of Things Expert Group, 2012

Type Paper
Legal context EU
Abstract
Link ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=1747
Topics Data Protection, Miscellaneous, Ethics, Security, Information Security, Technology, Interoperability

Notes

In 2012, the European Commission publishes the output from the work of the group of experts on the Internet of Things: this is the IoT Expert Group Final Meeting Report. Let's summarize the main findings of its work.


Privacy:

  • Specific legislation (i) or not (ii) (burdens, soon obsolete…)?
  • Privacy by default (i) or harmful situation if users have to give explicit permission for object to function as intended or required (ii)?
  • Loss of control: automatic decisions; invisible or unnoticed IoT systems.
  • Locking-in: users prisoners of a service provider  some service providers may emerge, lowering users’ freedom of choice --> monopoly situation (even if no formal monopoly).
  • Standardization is important: technical standards cause an increase of interoperability, and interoperability may help the respect of data protection legislation.

Safety and Security:

  • Prescriptive measures can improve security and safety (ii) or will only increase delays and costs?
  • Generic approach (i) or different approaches based on the needs of the different industries involved (ii) (“one size doesn’t fit all”)?

Ethics:

  • Problems of discrimination in access to IoT technologies? IoT may increase the digital divide.
  • Control issues: seamless interactions will lead to a distributed control, and the notion of informed consent may become obsolete.
  • Problems of separation between contexts and social spheres, because IoT blurs the boundaries between them.
  • Who is responsible and liable when unforeseen events cause harmful effects?
  • Ubiquity, invisibility, identification, ambiguous ontology and connectivity are the morally relevant characteristics of the IoT.
  • Positive implication of the IoT are better decision-making, utility, wellbeing, health, safety and security.

Identifiers:

  • Open (i) or closed (ii) platforms?
  • Globally unique permanent identifiers (to foster interoperability) (i) or short-lived and one-off identifiers (to foster privacy and security) (ii)?

Governance:

  • Administration of governance through existing Internet platforms (i) or thorough new platforms (ii)?
  • New governance bodies (i) or already existing bodies (ii)?
  • What is the relationship between Internet in general and IoT? Internet is a part of IoT (i); IoT is an application of Internet (ii); IoT is formed by different applications.
  • It’s premature to forge new principles and guidelines.
  • For the moment, the current Internet governance is sufficient to the IoT.
  • Three key issues are particularly relevant to policy decisions privacy; competitiveness; security.

Standards:

  • They may be helpful in the IoT domain (e.g. to guarantee privacy).
  • But they may also introduce delays.
  • Moreover, they need to evolve when the circumstances considering which they have been introduced change.
  • Technical M2M/IoT standards are still too fragmented: indeed, solutions are mainly developed through a vertical model; we need a common service layer that fosters reuse and interoperability between applications and devices.

Architectures:

  • Too many proprietary solutions in the past, a situation that mustn’t be repeated: more interoperability!