The Federal Trade Commission announced on April 17, 2013 that it is seeking comments about the consumer privacy and security issues posed by the rapidly growing connectivity of consumer devices. Often referred to as "The Internet of Things," many devices (cars, medical devices and appliances, to name a few) incorporate smart technology allowing them to connect with consumers and each other. The FTC notes that such capabilities can pose privacy and security threats. As a result, it is soliciting comments in preparation for a public workshop scheduled for November 21, 2013. Some issues the FTC has specifically requested comments on include 1) the future of such smart technology, 2) the unique privacy and security concerns associated with it, 3) consumer benefits of the technology, and 4) the future of the technology. The press release, including a full list of questions posed by the FTC, is available here. Public comments are due June 1, 2013.
TIP: These public comments and subsequent workshop may lead to new guidelines from the FTC regarding the use of smart technology in consumer products, and may give guidance about FTC expectations for inter-connected devices. We will continue to monitor subsequent developments.