IoT is taking the world by storm. With products that let us live out our “Back to the Future” dreams, sans the hoverboards and flying cars, it’s easy to get excited. IoT-related products, from smart watches to connected cars, make us feel like we are living in the future.

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But the IoT space is still growing, and with that comes a host of security risks. Some products have not yet developed appropriate security measures, which can allow hackers to compromise smart devices — for example, someone could hack into a smart refrigerator, turn off the power and spoil all the food inside. While this particular outcome is relatively mild, IoT’s security issues pose real problems when applied to medical devices or autonomous cars — a security failure in those areas can result in a life-or-death situation for many people.

Public data is essential in building and supporting innovation across fields, and data sets provided by various IoT products and devices are some of the most accurate and informative data sets available. And while the dissemination of public data should absolutely continue, there must be a more rigorous set of standards in determining what is public data. Traffic and climate data, for instance, are fairly innocuous, but it’s easy to see how revealing health or national security data could have tremendous repercussions.

NIST sits down with Vint

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, is working to establish proper security regulations for IoT companies, as well as determining a set of guidelines for what should constitute publicly available data. NIST’s work in the cybersecurity and IoT space will ensure that people’s private data stays private, thus brokering a mutual trust between corporations and consumers.

Recently, NIST talked with Vint Cerf, widely regarded as a “Founding Father” of the Internet, about the new security problems cropping up with IoT and affiliate industries. The whole 16-minute conversation can be found here.

IoT has a lot of security risks that cannot be ignored. But once the problems are fixed, smart devices will only serve to improve people’s lives and drive innovation further than even “Back to the Future” dreamed.