Italian telecom authority seeks input on the Internet of Things

by DLA Piper

The Internet of Things (IoT) will enable devices to communicate and share data with one another and data to be combined and used across multiple applications.  However, such applications also raise relevant legal issues.  The Italian Telecom Authority (AGCOM) has for this purpose just launched a consultation on the Internet of Things in order to understand how to better foster this market whose value will reach $ 7.1 trillion in sales by 2020.  But, the deadline for filings is quite tight.

After the call for input launched by the UK telecom regulator OFCOM, also AGCOM is now seeking views on the Internet of Things with reference in particular to machine to machine (M2M) communications services.

The Internet of Things and the communications sector

We have already covered the topic of the Internet of Things with reference among others to data protectioninteroperability and cybercrime issues, but machine to machine technologies – that are a sub-category of the Internet of Things – trigger the automatic transfer of information between devices or applications leading to relevant regulatory issues also in the telecom sector.

AGCOM in the material relating to the Internet of Things consultation referred to a number of machine to machine technologies such as connected carssmart meterssmart gridssmart cities, smart home devices, remote patient monitoring systems that are part of eHealth and even smart asset managements for the monitoring of gaming videolotteries and office material.  A contribution was sought with reference to all these areas and therefore the consultation might be of interest for companies active in all these fields.

AGCOM’s call for input on the Internet of Things

AGCOM has issued a quite extensive questionnaire (available here) with the purpose of

  • reviewing the factors that affect the growth of Internet of Things / M2M services, the types of applications that might lead the growth of the sector, the interaction between players in the market,
  • identifying the potential regulatory barriers to the growth of Internet of Things / M2M services and the initiatives that the regulator can take to create an incentive for its growth in connection with the different types of Internet of Things devices and
  • identifying the potential areas where a coordination with among other national and European institutions is necessary.

The approach of AGCOM appears very open minded since it is willing to better understand the scenario of the Internet of Things sector, whether regulatory changes also from other public authorities are required and whether an ad hoc regime of exemption from the current communications regulations is required.

Also, AGCOM touches issues on whether a regime imposing the telecom interoperability between Internet of Things devices is required, whether dedicated numbering schemes and frequency bands are required to boast the Internet of Things and how international roaming regulations should be interpreted with reference to machine to machine devices.

Finally issues relating to the protection of users are covered even with reference to specific clauses to be adopted to regulate contractual relationships concerning the provision of IoT services and privacy and security measures should be put in place.

The applicable deadlines of the consultation

The deadline for the filing of contributions to the consultation is the 3rd of October 2014, but the deadline to arrange requests for meetings with the AGCOM on the consultation is the 10th of September 2014.  As a consequence, there is not much time to arrange contributions and it will be an exciting summer for stakeholders of the Internet of Things sector.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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