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Internet of Things (IoT) 28 May 2019

Your Voice Matters: The World Can Learn from Canada’s Inclusive Solutions to Make Citizens Safer Online

Mark Buell
By Mark BuellRegional Bureau Director, North America

Canada has shown great leadership in its innovative approach to secure our connected future by drawing on the diverse strengths, backgrounds, and perspectives our country has to offer.

While the wrap up of a collaborative effort to produce policy recommendations to keep us safe online is definitely worth celebrating, the real work for Canadians has just begun.

The Internet has profoundly changed the way we do things, expanding opportunity as it shrinks distances between people, cultures, and ideas. With connected devices hitting the shelves of major Canadian retailers like never before, the Internet of Things (IoT) is adding countless facets to a new era of human potential.

It has also brought new and complex challenges in areas such as privacy and security.

Many of us worry about our security when we log on. Despite recent calls by governments around the world to create regulation to keep citizens and information safe online, it is critical to consider that not one person or government can solve these issues alone.

If there’s anything the world of Internet governance has shown us, it’s that we get better answers to tough questions when a range of experts and interests can meaningfully take part in the conversation.

When it comes to IoT security, Canada nailed it. It met this challenge with a collaborative project that drew on the expertise of diverse people and organizations. Known as the Canadian Multistakeholder Process: Enhancing IoT Security, the group included civil society, technology companies, academics, and developers. All worked in partnership with agencies such as the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, CANARIE, and CIPPIC.

Participants established three working groups that focused on consumer education and awareness, network resiliency, and the potential for a trustmark. The recommendations of each group are included in the final report released May 28.

The project’s recommendations carry serious weight in terms of credibility because they include perspectives from people who don’t always get a seat at the decision-making table.

For instance, youth delegates brought invaluable ideas about the potential future challenges of IoT from people who grew up in a world where the Internet has always existed. Likewise, participants of the 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit helped us understand the unique IoT access and security challenges of people without fast, reliable, and affordable Internet.

What’s more, other countries are already looking towards Canada’s collaborative model as a best practice to secure IoT. The Canadian Multistakeholder Process was the linchpin to the IoT Security Policy Platform, a collaborative body of government agencies and global organizations championing inclusive solutions to make security a pillar of our digital future. Senegal and France are also taking this way of working forward.

There isn’t a single person out there who can build a secure Internet by themselves. Solutions that are going to last need all of us. While the Canadian report represents a new way of meeting the potential and challenges of the Internet, it is only the starting point.

What’s next? We need your help to make things happen.

Now that the recommendations are in place, Canada needs to make them happen. That’s where you come in.

A new working group is already formed with the mandate to carry these recommendations forward. You can be a part of it.

The more the merrier: whether you’re an active community leader, policy maker, business leader, or concerned citizen, you can join group of changemakers working to secure our connected future through the IoT Security Implementation Committee. If you are interested, contact Senior Policy Advisor Katie Jordan at jordan@isoc.org.

Inclusivity is part of the Internet’s own DNA. It is an open and global network of networks that voluntarily work together.  Each network that joins the Internet does its own thing, but together they are all richer and more reliable.  It’s stronger because it works that way. We are too, and your voice is critical to the equation.

Join the IoT Security Implementation Committee and help ensure a secure, open, and accessible Internet for the future.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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