IoT Safety and Security as Shared Responsibility

Journal of Business Informatics, Number 1, Issue 35 (2016), pp 7-19

13 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016 Last revised: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Vinton G. Cerf

Vinton G. Cerf

Google Inc.

Patrick Spaulding Ryan Ph.D.

Berkeley Law; Stanford University

Max Senges

42 Wolfsburg / Berlin

Richard S. Whitt

GLIA Foundation

Date Written: February 21, 2016


What happens when everyday standalone devices and machines acquire network interfaces? The somewhat obvious result will be an unprecedented number of “things” connected to the Internet. It is less obvious what this means for the governance of the Internet when this occurs. With the “Internet of Things” (IoT) the Internet’s loosely coupled governance structures are already adapting to accommodate the evolution of the Internet’s use. As the governance structure continues to develop, users’ safety must be the first priority for all hardware and software providers. In the context of the Internet of Things, this paper proposes a definition of digital safety as distinct from security and discusses how multistakeholder governance can be applied to address safety challenges. The paper also considers the integration of “old” industries and the transformation of their governance into the multistakeholder model as their products and services are coming online. We consider how the thousands of manufacturers who traditionally produced analog, not-connected physical “things” adapt to become stakeholders in the Internet and how that changes the way that we think about Internet Governance. The particular interest of this paper is how to address safety issues that become much more prominent with the spread of Internet-enabled physical environments.

Keywords: Internet of Things, IoT, Internet governance, cybersecurity, digital safety

JEL Classification: K32, O14, O3, R38, G18

Suggested Citation

Cerf, Vint G. and Ryan, Patrick and Senges, Max and Whitt, Richard S., IoT Safety and Security as Shared Responsibility (February 21, 2016). Journal of Business Informatics, Number 1, Issue 35 (2016), pp 7-19, Available at SSRN:

Vint G. Cerf

Google Inc. ( email )

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Second Floor
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States

Patrick Ryan (Contact Author)

Berkeley Law ( email )

United States
303-669-5710 (Phone)

Stanford University ( email )

Max Senges

42 Wolfsburg / Berlin ( email )

porschestr 2c
Wolfsburg, 38440

Richard S. Whitt

GLIA Foundation ( email )

573 Upland Road
Emerald Hills, CA CA 94062
United States
650-450-1705 (Phone)


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