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Vint Cerf: 'sometimes I'm Terrified' By the Iot


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Google chief Internet evangelist and former ACM president Vint Cerf.

Google chief Internet evangelist and former ACM president Vint Cerf says he finds certain aspects of the Internet of Things "worrisome."

Credit: C. Flemming/Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation

Google chief Internet evangelist and former ACM president Vint Cerf says he finds certain aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT) worrisome, particularly its integration of appliances and bug-prone software.

Cerf, co-recipient in 2004 of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, acknowledges the IoT's promise to manage appliances and yield new insights into resource use, but he also cautions the IoT will make people increasingly dependent on computers, as well as programmers' ability to write quality code. "It's fraught with issues, some technical and some legislative," Cerf notes. "Who is liable when an appliance doesn't work the way it should, and what if that's a software question?"

Another troubling issue Cerf raises is the potential for malefactors to gain possession of information from the IoT for nefarious uses. He says strong authentication is required to address data safety, but also vital is giving users the flexibility to share access if they want. Drawing a distinction between the right and wrong parties to share that access with is a complicating factor, and Cerf also emphasizes the need for standards.

"If everything is separate and there's no standardization, we'll need different control and monitoring systems for everything," he says. "I don't want seven different hubs and systems to control all the pieces in my house."

From IDG News Service
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