We are going to have to live through a period of mistakes and challenges before we can make any strong regulations about the privacy issues and other challenges the Internet of Things present. That was Vint Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist for Google's response to a regulation question at his keynote before today's Federal Trade Commission's workshop on the Internet of Things trend.
The FTC workshop was examining the issues and challenges of everyday devices to communicate with each other and with people or "The Internet of Things" and ultimately how the agency might regulate that activity.
"Connected devices can communicate with consumers, transmit data back to companies, and compile data for third parties such as researchers, health care providers, or even other consumers, who can measure how their product usage compares with that of their neighbors," the FTC stated.
Reuters noted that in announcing the workshop in April and soliciting comments, the FTC asked how such gadgets can be updated when security holes are discovered and how to weigh privacy concerns against societal benefits from aggregating data provided by health-tracking gadgets.
Cerf was the keynoter of the workshop which also included FTC execs and representatives from GE Appliances, SmartThings, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others.
The issue of privacy was a hot one. For his part, Cerf said he would not "simply assert privacy is dead" but rather that it will be increasingly difficult to achieve.
"Our social behavior is quite damaging...technology has outraced our social intuition," he said.
Cerf went on to say he wanted to "build a congressional comic book to help them understand the way in which the Internet works...a lightweight cartoon model to help people to understand what laws make sense."
He also listed seven key challenges facing the Internet of Things, including:
For its part the FTC was looking for answers to its own key questions: For example:
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