The Hunt for the 'Goldilocks Zone' in Tech and Data Policy - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Data Management
08:00 AM
Connect Directly

The Hunt for the 'Goldilocks Zone' in Tech and Data Policy

During a preview of CES 2020, Gary Shapiro spoke about finding a balance between legislation and leeway for technology implementation.

There is some truth in the notion that the enterprise precedes consumer technology breakthroughs, but there are shared concerns about policy found in both communities. At the CES Unveiled preview event held in New York, the Consumer Technology Association gave its usual glimpse of gadgets expected to be in demand in the coming year however legislative matters colored the conversation.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, spoke about his concerns and observations of the current climate surrounding the entire technology sphere and the effect proposed policies might have. CES Unveiled is the preamble to the annual CES trade conference held in January in Las Vegas. While CES is primarily a showcase for new televisions, smart devices, cloud-based gaming, and tricked out automated cars, there is some crosspollination with elements of enterprise technology with planned discussions on innovation policy, privacy, and transformation across industries.

Gary Shapiro, president, CTAImage: Joao-Pierre S. Ruth
Gary Shapiro, president, CTA

Image: Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

For instance, the CTA openly stated at CES Unveiled that the enterprise will lead the way for 5G wireless connectivity, setting the stage before consumers get a taste. Steven Hummel, senior research analyst with the CTA said the proliferation of 5G networks will be crucial to the evolution of the Internet of Things. “We’re going to the ‘Intelligence of Things,’” he said. “Without 5G, we won’t have the Intelligence of Things.” Hummel predicted that 5G will allow for greater connections among devices and AI on a massive scale, bridging the digital divide. That includes the infrastructure for self-driving vehicles. “Without 5G, we wouldn’t be able to have devices in cars communicating together,” he said.

Carriers and mobile operators are expected to present at CES 2020, Hummel said. Moreover, the CTA said companies expected to present at CES are also going through a period of transformation with concerns about data privacy and management, cloud services, and regulatory oversight. Shapiro spoke about the scrutiny the entire technology industry faces as congressional hearings continued on Facebook’s data policies and other practices. “Technology is a tool and like any tool; it has good and bad uses,” he said.

How technology is implemented and applied rather than the technology itself can be a benefit or detriment to society, according to Shapiro. “A hammer could build a house or hit someone over the head,” he said. “But the hammer, for the most part, has not been regulated or legislated.” He said there are instances of the government upholding appropriate restrictions such as not letting private citizens get their hands on nuclear devices or gadgets for eavesdropping on phone calls. Citing current headlines and chatter, Shapiro referenced the outcry to break up or restrict some companies. “There’s a lot of negative mojo being sent technology's way -- which I don’t love,” he said.

Privacy ranks among the top concerns that surface in such discussions, Shapiro said. By comparison, countries such as China might invasively gather data on the public, he said, while some Europeans nations aim to give the public more control over their information, such as the right to be forgotten. “The challenge between Europe and China, it’s like Goldilocks and the three bears,” Shapiro said. “One’s too hot; one’s too cold. I like to think the United States is right in the middle.”

He went on to say the country is trying to find a balance between the legitimate right to privacy versus commerce and innovation. The CTA’s position, he said, is that there are types of data that are very private while other data should be readily available, such as the fact that a multi-car collision occurred on a highway.

AI and robotics at CES UnveiledImage: Joao-Pierre S. Ruth
AI and robotics at CES Unveiled

Image: Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Further discussion on such matters will likely continue at CES 2020 and beyond. “There is an economic challenge going on about data-driven services around artificial intelligence, which is so much driven by data,” Shapiro said. “China has a focus on artificial intelligence . . . and they are rushing to beat us. Europe has shut down the ability to do much in that area because they don’t allow the spread of data too much. The U.S. is trying to figure out how we can be competitive in respect to privacy.”

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth has spent his career immersed in business and technology journalism first covering local industries in New Jersey, later as the New York editor for Xconomy delving into the city's tech startup community, and then as a freelancer for such outlets as ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll