Building the Web of Things

Mozilla is working to create a Web of Things framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices. By providing these devices with web URLs and a standardized data model and API, we are moving towards a more decentralized Internet of Things that is safe, open and interoperable. The Internet and the World Wide Web are built on open standards which are decentralized by design, with anyone free to implement those standards and connect to the network without the need for a central point of control. This has resulted in the explosive growth of hundreds of millions of personal computers and billions of smartphones which can all talk to each other over a single global network. As technology advances from personal computers and smartphones to a world where everything around us is connected to the Internet, new types of devices in our homes, cities, cars, clothes and even our bodies are going online every day. The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a term to describe how physical objects are being connected to the Internet so that they can be discovered, monitored, controlled or interacted with. Like any advancement in technology, these innovations bring with them enormous new opportunities, but also new risks. At Mozilla our mission is “to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. An Internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent.” This mission has never been more important than today, a time when everything around us is being designed to connect to the Internet. As new types of devices come online, they bring with them significant new challenges around security, privacy and interoperability. Many of the new devices connecting to the Internet are insecure, do not receive software updates to fix vulnerabilities, and raise new privacy questions around the collection, storage, and use of large quantities of extremely personal data. Additionally, most IoT devices today use proprietary vertical technology stacks which are built around a central point of control and which don’t always talk to each other. When they do talk to each other it requires per-vendor integrations to connect those systems together. There are efforts to create standards, but the landscape is extremely complex and there’s still not yet a single dominant model or market leader.”