BIA sets up technology committee while the data economy is booming
The global data economy and digital ecosystem are huge, growing exponentially, and facing potential new government regulations that could hinder their growth.
Data flows through almost every aspect of life, from work computers to smartphones to a growing number of smart devices – alexas, televisions, clocks, appliances, and even lamps. More and more cars are connected to navigation and information systems. All share and receive data; most involve some degree of commerce.
From the largest tech companies to the smallest brick and mortar stores, the internet is a cornerstone of business. With the convenience of working, banking, shopping and maintaining contacts, we place enormous trust in the digital ecosystem to continue working and protect our data.
All of these are reasons the Business and Industry Association, New Hampshire’s national chamber of commerce and business leader, created their new Technology Committee. BIA members who join the committee represent a wide range of industries and show how much technology extends into our economy. The committee will work to better understand how the digital economy works and to ensure that all government action allows innovative companies and leaders to continue to lead the way.
Concerns about privacy, cybersecurity, and faster and more expanded high-speed Internet are growing as the digital ecosystem expands. According to Opendatasoft, the volume of data worldwide increased by more than 3,000% from 2011 to 2020 to 59 zettabytes, enough data to fill the hard drives of nearly 30 billion new laptops. Statista predicts that global data creation will exceed 180 zettabytes by 2025.
A top technology problem is increasing the speed and reach of the Internet across New Hampshire. The state and federal governments continue to support the expansion of 5G, the new mobile communications standard that is supposed to connect practically everyone and everything to the digital ecosystem, and continue to contribute funds. Rolling out 5G in New Hampshire’s cities, suburbs, and rural areas is a priority to promote telemedicine, the Internet for students, and work from home in addition to everyday conveniences. However, 5G faces possible government regulations that would limit its availability.
A bill expected in the 2022 session of the New Hampshire legislature would restrict the placement of wireless devices. As reported by Communications Daily, the bill provides for kickbacks in wireless equipment from 1,600 feet and regular wireless emissions measurements. The New Hampshire Commission investigating the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology released its report last November claiming the Federal Communications Commission may be ignoring the dangers of wireless radio frequency due to the influence of industry. However, radio frequencies and wireless devices have not been shown to have adverse health effects. 5G is critical to expanding access to high-speed internet, which would be slowed down and limited by the proposed setbacks.
Another hot topic is legislative attempts to restrict the use of location data services. House Bill 384 of the last session would have required the active consent of a consumer every time a computer application shares its location data with a third party. The BIA rejected the law because it was too cumbersome and required constant approval. The bill was not passed by lawmakers, but it is likely that a similar attempt will be made again.
Cybersecurity and data breaches are perhaps the top concerns in the data economy. As recently as late last month, cyber criminals stole $ 2.3 million from the city of Peterborough by collecting three scheduled payment transfers and converting them to cryptocurrency. The US secret service is investigating the theft.
Data is an asset to the companies who own it and the consumers who own it. Robust security precautions are of the utmost importance to protect against theft. New Hampshire could have up to $ 10 million to support state and local cybersecurity initiatives in four years if the state’s $ 1 trillion infrastructure package becomes law. BIA and its members, through the work of the new technology committee, can help channel this money to the right places.
The digital ecosystem and the data economy together can reshape our lives and expand prosperity from big cities to small towns. But all government regulations must be workable, informed by companies, and not burdensome enough to drive up costs and slow down trade, which is why the technology committee will be a central part of BIA advocacy in the future.
Rick Fabrizio is director of communications and public order at the trade and industry association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.