Europe is very interested in the Internet of the future, having ceded to the United States so much of the standards and governance of the Internet of the past. The Internet of the future is often conflated with the “Internet of things” (IoT); i.e., the embedding of networked devices pervasively into our environment, which some have called “ambient intelligence.” And in turn, the Internet of things is often equated with the EPCGlobal –VeriSign use of RFID chips to manage supply chains of physical products (although that is only one of many possible applications).
A September 29, 2008 European Union staff working paper, “Early Challenges to the Internet of Things,” shot some policy concerns across the bow. How should the IoT be regulated? EU seemed especially concerned about the apparent linkage between the Object Naming System (ONS) used by EPC Global (contracting with VeriSign) and the U.S.-controlled DNS root.
Comment upon and responses to this staff paper are now posted online. If you are interested in the evolution of thinking about IoT a look through these comments might be rewarding. IGP’s Milton Mueller helped develop a response with Dutch Internet service provider XS4All. A lot of the more informed comments note that there are many possible applications and architectures that could fall under the rubric of IoT and that it is incorrect to associate it exclusively with RFID generally and EPC Global’s system specifically.