Article, Event

PETRAS at the IoT Security Foundation Conference 2020


The 2020 IoT Security Foundation Virtual Conference held between 1 – 4 December 2020 provided an update on the threat landscape, standards & regulations, best practice, next-practice and the latest developments in IoT cybersecurity.

Among the speakers at the conference were two academic members of the PETRAS community who led a presentation on ‘Geopolitics of IoT: Global standards and the case of connected fitness devices’ as part of the session on ‘Resilience’.

Prof. Madeline Carr, Professor of Global Politics and Cybersecurity at UCL, & Dr Saheli Datta Burton, Research Fellow at UCL,  introduced their work on the PETRAS project ‘GISt’ (Geopolitics of IIoT Standards). The project investigates how political interest is embedded in the security standards by which the IoT is implemented.

Standards are increasingly understood as a powerful mechanism through which IoT governance is enacted and they are regarded by states as linked to national security, national interest and state power.

In this presentation, the researchers focus on the intersection between issues of safety and security in wearable connected fitness devices which are now as ubiquitous as the security and safety risks they face through interconnectivity and interoperability. In particular, they look at the issues of interstate competitiveness where ambitions of increased productivity and efficiency very much outweigh security concerns, resulting in devices particularly susceptible to the vulnerabilities that emerge in the IoT ecosystem generally.

Drawing on the lens of ‘standards’ in the fitness devices domain they reflect on how different states are engaging with standards negotiations, which states are taking newly assertive roles, and which states are forming powerful alliances in standards forums to understand how technology and geopolitics will intersect in the coming decades.

The presentation can be watched in full below.