Cybersecurity versus Trade in Internet of Things Products
Cybersecurity versus Trade in Internet of Things Products
Joel P. Trachtman
ABSTRACT: Most traded goods in the future will be connected goods: part of the ‘internet of things (IoT)’. This article describes the problem of cybersecurity-based concerns regarding imports of IoT goods, analyses the applicable international trade law that would constrain national cybersecuritybased import restrictions, and evaluates the extent to which security exceptions in trade law are available to permit these defensive measures. Based on the defensive needs, and the legal constraints, it suggests some of the characteristics of a cooperative regulatory regime that can allow importing states to verify the safety of products and/or producers, so as to allow trade to continue. One important feature of the IoT cybersecurity problem is that all sorts of goods present security threats, so that every manufacturer becomes an attack vector. In this sense, cybersecurity in IoT goods poses the problem that not just foreign militaries, but every foreign manufacturer of even rather ordinary goods, becomes a potential attacker. Importing states fear a public-private partnership that weaponises ordinary goods. Unless these manufacturers find a way to allay these concerns, their goods will not be acceptable for importation. The response to this problem must be to form countervailing public-private partnerships that allow importing state governments to develop an acceptable balance of trust and verification so that they may accept imported goods from validated suppliers.

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