"The pace of innovation far outstrips the pace of regulation," Bainwol added.
In addition to auto safety, Congress may have a role to play in refereeing who owns the consumer data that flows over IoT, Chu said. "How do we rely on the industry to self govern and avoid the problems implicit in the fox guarding the hen house?" she said. "Isn't the industry incentivized to claim ownership over the data?"
Consumer privacy is "paramount," added Representative Ted Poe, a Texas Republican. Congressional action may be needed to ensure that IoT vendors don't share too much information with government agencies, he said.
In some cases, consumers should have some control over the data they share on IoT systems, Shapiro said. But in other cases, when the data being used isn't particularly personal, companies may not need to give consumers control, he added. For example, IoT-connected windshield wipers that can tell other drivers where it's raining may not be providing information consumers need to keep control over, he said.
"If industry goes in the wrong direction, we are fully confident government will be there saying, 'This is wrong,'" he said.
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