Senate’s IoT bill aims to maintain U.S. as global top dog

The Internet of Things (IoT) brought together a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators who launched bill that aims to ensure that America remains a leader in connected technology.

As reported by Morning Consult, the Senators are advancing legislation, called the DIGIT act, that will create a working group of private sector and government experts who will perform a deep review into IoT and related technology. Once the review is done, the study group will forward recommendations to Congress on the best ways lawmakers can help the emerging technology reach its full potential.

And IoT’s potential is expected to prove a significant driver of both technological innovation and economic growth. Not only are connected devices predicted to be a game-changer for consumer products like wearables and self-driving cars, but industrial IoT applications are expected to create a sea change in in such areas as manufacturing, logistics and data.

According to Joshua New, a Center for Data Innovation policy analyst, the legislation “could help put the United States on track to be a world leader in the Internet of Things.”

“Policy discussions frequently focus on specific opportunities and challenges, such as, ‘How can we ensure enough spectrum will be available?’ and, ‘How can we encourage good cybersecurity practices for consumer devices?’” said New. “These can be productive discussions, but if the government hopes to fully tap the potential of the Internet of Things, all of these challenges and opportunities must be addressed cohesively.”

Senate seeking more private sector input

When the drafting of the DIGIT act, Senators sought to create legislation that did not impose any hard requirements on regulators or manufacturers. Rather it will promote a commission-style approach to feed information to Congress on how government can best support the growth of IoT in the U.S.

The bill proposes bringing together private-sector and government stakeholders to consider the regulatory environment needed to foster IoT growth. The working group will also forward recommendations on such issues as cybersecurity, privacy and consumer protection.

To ensure diverse viewpoints, the bill proposes that the Commerce secretary appoint government experts from such varied agencies as the Federal Trade Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Association, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation.

Meanwhile on the industry side, the working group would include consultations with experts among consumer groups, communications manufacturers, and other specialists from the IT world.

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