Governance and Accountability in Internet of Things (IoT) Networks

Naomi Jacobs*, Pete Edwards, Caitlin Cottrill, Karen Salt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)


Societies and their underlying infrastructure are in the process of being transformed by digital technology, a change that requires updated legislation and governance structures to respond to new information contexts. One particular area of rapid growth is that of connected devices that are increasingly being deployed in the physical environment as part of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). There has been significant attention by policymakers at both national and international levels as to the economic and social benefits these technologies can bring and how they can be effectively implemented, leading to a range of different governance models. Many of these models relate to larger scale deployments as part of “smart city” urban infrastructure programs. Unlike private sector Internet of Things devices, which require buy-in from individuals who voluntarily purchase technology and choose to use it, public space deployments can affect entire communities. They must therefore particularly include mechanisms by which citizens can be empowered. We present a thematic review of literature and policy pertaining to IoT governance models, and construct a framework of principles for IoT governance, highlighting emerging and remaining questions. Four emergent themes (Levels of Governance, Legitimacy and Representation, Accountability, and Transparency) are illustrated using case studies at two levels; national and supranational top-down governance models, and city-based context-specific implementation models.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Digital Technology and Society
EditorsSimeon J. Yates, Ronald E. Rice
PublisherOxford Handbooks
ISBN (Electronic)9780190932596
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Internet of Things
  • IoT
  • IoT governance models
  • IoT governance, accountability
  • urban infrastructure programs


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