I am watching the world of Internet of Things (IoT) unfold, not because I'm a big fan of it, but more because I'm concerned that it is happening, and often worried that much of it is happening without any focus on security, and privacy. As I look at this week's stories in my API IoT bucket, I can't help but think that IoT is a live demonstration of how the regulatory beasts, that we love to hate on in America, are created.
It starts with a bunch of fast moving, greedy, corner cutting capitalists who are innovating and all that jazz. These are not always the first wave of movers in a space, but usually the second and third waves of opportunists with one thing in mind — making some money. These are the companies that are so focused on revenue and profits they ignore things like security, and they see the data generated being key to their success, and concepts around privacy often do not even exist — it's the new oil!
As the number of security and privacy events increase, things like the unprecedented attack on Krebs on Security, the calls for a fix will only grow. Eventually, these calls for help are heard by the government, if they are negatively impacting enough well-to-do-white folk, and the government steps up to figure out what to do. Often times, these investigative forces aren't fully up to speed on the area they are investigating, but with the resources they have, they'll usually inflict some regulatory and legal response. If there are any existing companies with a strong lobbying presence, the immediate response will be significantly watered down, making it more of a nuisance than anything else.
This is when the market voice begins its complaining about the government overstepping its responsibilities, and stepping in to throw a wet blanket on business. The government is bad. Regulation is bad. Then we repeat, rinse, and go about our days. This is how regulatory beasts are born, nurtured, and fed on a regular basis.
The Internet of Things is the modern poster child for this process. In a couple years, after more of this bad behavior continues, we will see an increasing amount of government legislation and regulatory intervention into the world of IoT. Then we will hear more squealing from the startups and enterprises who could have just behaved sensibly in the beginning, as they turn up the volume about how the government is so bad, and so anti-business, and anti-innovation.