In January, Ofcom, the UK telecommunications regulator, published its Statement on ‘Promoting investment and innovation in the Internet of Things’ (Statement). The Statement acknowledges that the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to deliver significant benefits to citizens and consumers. In light of this, Ofcom sought views from its stakeholders on what role Ofcom might play to support the growth and innovation of the IoT.

The Statement identifies four priority areas to help support the growth of the IoT. These include: data privacy, network security and resilience, spectrum availability, and network addresses.

Ofcom identifies data privacy as the ‘greatest single barrier to the development of the IoT’. Respondents were concerned about issues such as lack of trust in sharing personal data on the part of citizens and consumers.

To address such issues, the Statement proposes the implementation of a common framework to allow consumers to easily and transparently authorise the conditions under which data collected by their devices is used and shared with others. Where possible, the Statement recommends industry-led approaches to keeping consumers in control which are agreed internationally where possible.

In order to foster innovation and facilitate progress on these issues at both a national and international level, Ofcom proposes to work closely with government, the Information Commissioner’s Office, other regulators, and industry.

This Statement follows the EU Article 29 Working Party’s Opinion on ‘Recent Developments on the Internet of Things’ which we reported on in January 2015.