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Bloomberg News: House Calls on Government to Study Internet of Things

September 13, 2016
In The News

The U.S. government should be actively engaged in creating a strategy to maximize the beneficial economic impact of technology connected to the web, according to a newly passed House resolution.

H. Res. 847 calls on the federal government to develop a national strategy to encourage the development of the internet of things (IoT) to promote the use and economic prowess of connected technology. The resolution also urges the government to determine if the IoT may improve government efficiency and cut waste, fraud and abuse.

The resolution also calls on businesses to “implement reasonable privacy and cybersecurity practices” to protect consumers' sensitive data. If technology companies adopt an enhanced level of data protection, consumers may increase their “confidence, trust and acceptance of this emerging market.”

The IoT is an ever-expanding network of physical objects equipped with technology that enables them to connect to other products or services to collect and transfer data. IoT devices include wearable health-care devices, cars, smartphones, household appliances, energy systems and other devices that connect to the internet. According to a June 2015 McKinsey & Company report, the IoT industry may grow to $11 trillion by 2025.

The resolution, introduced by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), was approved late Sept. 12 on a 367-4 vote.

‘Potential to Improve the Lives of Millions.'

The bipartisan resolution is cosponsored by Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Robert Latta (R-Ohio) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Four Republicans voted against the bipartisan measure, including Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Glenn S. Grothman (R-Wis.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and Thomas H. Massie (R-Ky.). Fifty-nine members, Democrats and Republicans, didn't cast a vote on the resolution.

The resolution “emphasizes how important future innovation is in this space and the need for the government to avoid over regulating the industry to the point where innovating new uses and technologies becomes harder for the companies involved,” John Byers, a spokesman for Lance, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 12.

The IoT “has the potential to improve the lives of millions” of U.S. citizens, “from making driving cars safer to allowing people to track their health and fitness,” Byers said.

Lance said in a separate statement that the U.S. tech sector and other consumer-facing companies “run more efficiently thanks to the Internet of Things.” Congress should “help make the Internet of Things thrive” and should “facilitate a federal support system that empowers exciting new ideas,” he said.

The resolution will examine the economic benefit of the “Internet of Things, also known as the Internet of Everything,” to show its future “growth and success,” Lance said.
Senate Attention

This isn't the first attempt by Congress to extensively explore the IoT industry for both economic and data security purposes. A bipartisan group of senators—led by Sens Deb. Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)—introduced March 1 a measure (S. 2607) that would establish a working group of federal regulators to provide recommendations to Congress on the proliferation of the IoT industry (41 PRA, 3/2/16). The bill is currently held up in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

In 2015, the Senate by unanimous consent adopted an IoT resolution. Unlike the House resolution, the Senate resolution didn't mention privacy and data security issues associated with the IoT.