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Friday, September 22, 2017

IoT trust frameworks go head to head with launch of blockchain alliance

By Nick Flaherty at

A new open source software foundation has been launched to create a secure, scalable, interoperable, and trusted IoT ecosystem using the distributed ledger technology of blockchain.

However, the Trusted IoT Alliance (TIA) will be up against existing collaborative frameworks that have already released their specifications.

The TIA was formed from the Blockchain & IoT Protocol working group that arose out of conversations amongst technologists during 2016 working on different aspects of the IoT and blockchain problem, all recognising the need for a "smart contract" interface between IoT devices and blockchain systems across the industry.

At the inaugural meeting of the group in Berkeley, CA in 2016, they agreed to create a foundation for industry collaboration in a few basic areas. It will promote technologies that have been successful for members, such as Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum, Quorum and BigChain DB.
It is not necessarily pushing blockchain as a term. “The word ‘blockchain’ is not in the title because we are unsure of the persistence of the term ‘blockchain’ in this fast-evolving technology landscape,” says the Alliance. “In 2013 the buzz term was ‘Bitcoin’, in 2014-16 ‘blockchain’ became more common, and now in 2017 the term ‘DLT’ or ‘Distributed Ledger Technology’ is gathering momentum. DLT is being used as an umbrella term to describe both permissioned and public ledgers, and could possibly displace the use of the term blockchain, hence our caution.”

A key point is that the TIA is backed by Bosch, Cisco and Gemalto on the operational board but it will be competing with other Internet security groups that already have IoT frameworks available, although not yet with blockchain technologies.

Back in March 2016 The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) formally ratified and released its Internet of Things (IoT) Trust Framework. The Framework was the first global, multi-stakeholder effort to address IoT risks comprehensively including 30 principles providing guidance for device manufacturers and developers to enhance the security, privacy and sustainability of their devices and data they collect.

This was based on work by the OTA’s IoT Trustworthy Working Group (ITWG) hat was established in January 2015 address security, privacy and life-cycle sustainability in IoT products and services, which is pretty much the same remit as the TIA.

The initial scope of the ITWG focused on connected / smart home products and consumer facing health and fitness wearable technologies and the IoT Trust Framework reflects feedback from nearly 100 US and international companies and organisations ranging from major retailers and device manufacturers, to security and privacy subject matter experts, to consumer testing and advocacy organisations, to academia, government and law enforcement.

"The framework demonstrates the ability of the public and private sectors to coalesce and develop meaningful and actionable guidelines, enhancing security and privacy practices globally," said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director and President of the Online Trust Alliance. "Adopting the Framework, is a step towards realising the promise of IoT and making security and privacy competitive product features."

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