ITU Report On Internet Of Things: Great Potential For Development But Privacy, Interoperability Concerns 19/01/2016 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. Connected devices talking to each other and to humans could solve major global challenges and be a vector for global development, according to a new report by the UN International Telecommunication Union and Cisco Systems. However, issues remain, such as strategies to protect privacy, and interoperability between devices and systems. The ITU today released its report [pdf] “Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development,” produced in collaboration with Cisco Systems. The report looks at the current use of the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and their potential to solve some pressing issues in developing countries, such as crop and livestock management, detection and prevention of major natural disasters, and the improvement of health and wellbeing through greater efficiency and improved care in existing healthcare settings. According to the report, there are a number of definitions of the IoT. The ITU defines it as “a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies.” The IoT can be used in an array of applications, such as monitoring vaccine delivery and storage in real-time through connected thermometers, or cameras and sensors in smartphones and tablets enabling health workers to provide remote diagnosis. The report also mentions text analysis of social media data as having the potential to reflect growing tensions in a particular region, which could be used to forecast potential outbreaks of violence. However, significant challenges persist, according to the report, in particular the fact that “the same infrastructure that enables people to create, store and share information may also jeopardize their privacy and security.” “These same techniques can be used for large-scale and targeted surveillance,” it said. The IoT also has regulatory implications, including licensing, standards, competition, and security and privacy, the report says. Separately, “broader governance issues may impede the adoption of the IoT, such as in the case of the slow adoption of connected thermometers to protect the vaccine cold chain due to challenges in certification approval for new technologies in the World Health Organization’s Pre-Qualified Systems (PQS).” The report provides a number of recommendations, in particular to promote standards that facilitate interoperability across the IoT ecosystem, foster investment, and competition. And the report advises that strategies protecting privacy “must take a range of risks into account from a variety of different sources as well as adapt to local regulations.” Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."ITU Report On Internet Of Things: Great Potential For Development But Privacy, Interoperability Concerns" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.