C_TEC Sends Recommendations and Findings on Connected Devices to House E&C Committee

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 10:45am

November 22, 2016

Rep. Michael C. Burgess
Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Technology
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Janice Schakowsky
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Technology
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
2322A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Burgess and Ranking Member Schakowsky:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”), the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, is dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending America’s free enterprise system.  The Chamber appreciates the opportunity to submit this letter to the Committee as you examine the Internet of Things (IoT) in light of the recent cyberattacks.

The Chamber created C_TEC to promote the role of technology in our economy and to advocate for rational policies that drive economic growth, spur innovation, and create jobs. As the nation’s voice for small and large businesses, the Chamber understands the transformative opportunities IoT presents for consumers, businesses, and our country’s economy. The Chamber also appreciates that regulatory and other barriers can impede the development of a nascent IoT and delay the full realization of its many benefits.

After an incident like last month’s DDoS attack on the service provider Dyn, there can be a knee jerk reaction that can lead to some senseless policy decisions. C_TEC commissioned Morning Consult to do some polling immediately after this attack occurred and found that only about 25% of Americans were aware of what had caused the large scale internet outage. On the other hand, a majority of Americans view IoT as an important technology that will impact healthcare, manufacturing, energy, and agriculture in the near future. Keeping this in mind, C_TEC feels that it is imperative that Congress proceeds cautiously to avoid stifling the innovation of this nascent technology. In collaboration with our member companies, we have developed several steps for policymakers to best address IoT. This includes:

Work to pass the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (“DIGIT”) Act. The DIGIT Act will bring together stakeholders in government and industry to shape IoT policy, ensuring that the United States realizes the full economic potential of IoT and remains a leader in this next chapter of the Internet.

Encourage industry and government collaboration to solve evolving security and privacy challenges. Prescriptive regulation is unnecessary and unwise at this early stage. Approaches to security and privacy must remain collaborative, flexible, and innovative over the long term—enabling solutions to evolve at the pace of the market.

Reduce regulatory burdens, compliance costs, and overlap. A multitude of uncoordinated state and federal efforts in IoT is creating an uncertain regulatory environment. Government should evaluate existing regulatory activities and ensure that they are supportive of IoT and do not constitute unintentional barriers.

Remove barriers to investment and infrastructure deployment at all levels. Infrastructure will be critical for IoT deployment, and the government should look for ways to promote deployment and upgrades of communications networks.

Champion voluntary, industry-led, globally recognized, and consensus-based processes for technical and interoperability standards. Historically, the most effective process for developing standards has been driven by the private sector through a variety of open participation, globally recognized, voluntary, and consensus-based standards groups, industry consortia, and companies.

Encourage industry and government collaboration to solve evolving security and privacy challenges. Prescriptive regulation is unnecessary and unwise at this early stage. Approaches to security and privacy must remain collaborative, flexible, and innovative over the long term—enabling solutions to evolve at the pace of the market.

Ensure adequate flexible spectrum is available to support IoT. Ubiquitous high-speed broadband connections over licensed and unlicensed spectrum are critical to the IoT ecosystem. Efficient management of this scarce resource must be a top priority.

Promote a skilled workforce capable of operating in the digital future. Investment in human capital will determine which countries lead in the IoT.

When it comes to technology policy, prescriptive regulation entails significant costs. We are in the early stages of IoT, and it is not yet clear what significant privacy concerns IoT poses. Indeed, the privacy issues raised by IoT may be similar to those raised by existing technologies, such as cloud computing; existing approaches are evolving at the pace of the market to safeguard legitimate privacy interests. Moreover, the FTC has not been shy about monitoring consumer-facing IoT and pursuing fraud, misrepresentation, and allegedly unreasonable practices, as it does with other consumer-facing technologies and products.

C_TEC will continue to work with our members to ensure that this technology has the legislative and regulatory environment that will allow it to thrive and for businesses to continue to innovate. The positive impacts that IoT is capable of are far too vital to the future of our economy and our lives to allow for progress to be slowed down. We look forward to working with this Committee, Congress, and the new Administration as this develops.

Sincerely,

Tim Day
Senior Vice President
US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center