Can the Internet of Things Change Economic Inequality? Commerce Wants to Know


he Department of Commerce wants your input on the Internet of Things.

Should the government measure the economic impact of the Internet of Things sector? If so, how? By the volume of devices sold, its impact on manufacturing, or services provided?

The Commerce Department wants answers from the public to these and many other questions related to the connected network of devices, sensors and appliances, and data gathered from that network. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration put out a notice this week, asking for input on benefits and challenges, as well as “what role, if any, the U.S. government should play in this area.”

Eventually, the agency plans to issue a paper summarizing issues related to the deployment of the technology incorporating feedback from the public.

Other questions include:

  • How can the Internet of Things affect economic inequality?
  • How can the Internet of Things help disadvantaged or rural communities?
  • Could it create obstacles for these groups?
  • What role does the government have in “ensuring that the positive impacts of IoT reach all Americans” and making sure the negatives don’t “disproportionately [impact] disadvantaged communities or groups?
  • Does the Internet of Things present unique challenges, separate from those that other technology poses?
  • What new policies does the Internet of Things warrant?
  • How should the government address cybersecurity threats associated with the Internet of Things?

NTIA plans to collect public comment until mid-May. Written answers should be submitted via email to, the notice said.