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Ethics, values and common standards are essential for shaping an IoT-smart society

Security and privacy are at the root of serious fears about personal information, especially in the IoT space, where remote system hacks become cyberinvasions that impact the physical world. Just look at what happened with Jeep and the Krebs on Security blog. These fears spell trouble for IoT if companies don’t address security concerns and build out a secure IoT infrastructure quickly — indeed, 90% of consumers already express a lack of confidence in the security of IoT devices.

As IoT-related technology is integrated deeper into daily life in the form of fitness wearables, smart home devices, autonomous vehicles and even tracking chips for household pets, it’s up to industry leaders and policymakers to ensure the well-being of the consumer in this smart future. To do this, we must prioritize an aligned IoT framework by keeping the ethics around algorithms and access; values around privacy, security and ownership; and the common reference architectures that protect and build trust with consumers in mind.

IoT ethics: Algorithms and access

By 2021, 40% of new enterprise applications from service providers will include AI. As a result, IoT is set to grow rapidly as scaling costs decrease, and IT and operational technology become more connected. In developing the algorithms that fuel these proliferating IoT devices, enterprises must be cautious of algorithmic flaws and distribution of IoT access.

Industry leaders must be attentive to the reactions and outputs produced when programming IoT algorithms. As the IoT ecosystem becomes increasingly complex, algorithms will be more prone to flaws like exposed biased logic, inaccurate judgments — even security weaknesses allowing manipulated inputs to produce false outputs. If algorithms produce prejudice results that affect consumers, IoT technology will not be trusted.

If IoT progresses according to plan, society will experience tremendous benefits – 61% of consumers predict that increased automation and AI will prompt reduced motor accidents and deaths, safer workplaces, better patient monitoring and more. With these great benefits, industry leaders and policymakers must work together to ensure that all members of society receive these benefits, not just people and areas who can afford to implement IoT into their daily lives.

A strong ethical standard will motivate companies to design smarter and more inclusively to avoid algorithmic issues and ensure global connectivity. When it comes down to it, every company is responsible for maintaining an ethical IoT foundation or else consumers will deny access to their information — resulting in a data deficit for companies. To get this right, leaders must consider the capacity of their IoT technology and how they can expedite access worldwide.

IoT values: Privacy, security and ownership

In addition to developing a code of ethics, IoT should be built on three core values: privacy, security and ownership. IoT devices must retain a certain amount of privacy when processing data and have security measures built in. Ownership of data must also be established clearly for consumers to feel comfortable with integrating IoT into their daily lives.

More precise and extensive data is being recorded through IoT, but customers don’t want their private information scrutinized, monetized or shared without their knowledge. When it comes to storing information and content, 67% of consumers choose to save locally on their device over the cloud. To gain IoT trust and mitigate hesitations, blockchain technology should record and protect the exchanges that contain data. Through these exchanges, consumers could track and maintain ownership over data they want to keep private or secure.

With data ownership, policymakers must be able to determine who holds the rights to IoT data. Wearable manufacturers could sell consumers’ information and impact insurance, credit scores or jobs. By devising policies on data collected within their districts around privacy, security and ownership, policymakers would have those policies travel and expire conjointly with data. Consequently, quantity will be maintained, and concerns will be alleviated.

IoT common reference architectures

After addressing ethics and values around IoT, a clear next step is to discuss and agree on common reference architectures for building out IoT technology. A reference architecture establishes all of the components which are required to implement a complete IoT service. Several organizations, including the Industrial Internet Consortium and the Plattform Industrie 4.0, are making efforts to align the industry. Establishing common reference architectures comes with many benefits for governments, enterprises and consumers to build trust, security and experience. Without common reference architectures, large-scale IoT adoption will take longer and expose businesses and consumers to greater risks.

Of businesses surveyed, 61% think that enterprises should be responsible for securing data at each stage of their journey, and currently, private and public enterprises and policymakers are collaborating on a secure IoT infrastructure. Together, they have explored decoupling data, blockchain technology, securing end-to-end layers from the edge to the cloud and more. By securing IoT frameworks, future developments will have protocols to reference. Subsequently, all socioeconomic levels will benefit from IoT much faster, creating a digitally connected world.

These ethics, values and common reference architectures will set the tone for enterprises creating a smart future. This is already happening at the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where numerous tech leaders have partnered to use IoT technology to create a safe, connected and sustainable future. Protecting workers from potentially dangerous work environments, providing society with advanced health monitoring devices, and simplifying daily tasks with smart home technology are all great contributions — but these advances should not be made at the expense of security and privacy.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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