Defining the Internet of Devices: Privacy and Security Implications
Rutledge, Richard L.
Massey, Aaron K.
Antón, Annie I.
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What observers have called the Internet of Things (IoT) presents privacy and security challenges for contemporary society. The conceptual model of the IoT evolved rapidly from technologies used to track parts in industrial supply chain management to a diverse set of smart technologies. This rapid evolution has merged several conceptually distinct technologies into a single, difficult-to-define concept. A key difficulty is defining what constitutes a “thing.” The term has been used to refer both to the things sensed, such as a star or the contents of a refrigerator, and to the things that do the sensing (devices). We argue that the Internet of Things is better conceptualized as an Internet of Devices (IoD) because devices, not things, act in a digital form and connect to the Internet. Along with the other requirements of an effective IoD, technologists and policy makers must develop standards, network protocols, identity management solutions, and governance for the IoD to address privacy and security challenges a priori rather than retrofitted after the fact. Privacy and security cannot easily be added to a system that is already deployed and established. In this paper, we define the IoT and the IoD and summarize the independent technologies from which they have evolved. We provide a five-stage general policy framework for evaluating privacy and security concerns in the IoD. Our framework seeks to provide a consistent approach to evaluating privacy and security concerns across all IoD technologies while remaining flexible enough to adapt to new technical developments.