The Wall Street Journal reports on an address that FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez gave to the folks out at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.
From the report:
“Ramirez outlined several concerns including ubiquitous data collection, or the ability of sensors to collect sensitive personal information about consumers all the time and in real time; unexpected uses of consumer data, such using individual energy use patterns to set their homeowners’ insurance rates; and cybersecurity threats.
“She also noted opportunities. ‘Whether it’s a remote valet parking assistant, which allows drivers to get out of their cars and remotely guide their empty car to a parking spot; a new fashionable bracelet that allows consumers to check their texts and see reviews of nearby restaurants; or smart glucose meters, which make glucose readings accessible both to those afflicted with diabetes and their doctors, the IoT has the potential to transform our daily lives,’ she said.
The Internet of Things is one of the big themes at this year’s CES, with thousands of vendors offering up a wide array of connected products.
[Read Security Ledger coverage of the FTC here. ]
Speaking to attendees, Ramirez suggested that companies that are making IoT products limit the data they collect and destroy it when it is no longer needed. Companies – even small startups – should appoint a security lead to manage privacy and security issues during product development. And IoT product companies should clearly explain to consumers when their data is being sold to marketing firms or used in ways they may not expect, Ramirez recommended.
The FTC under Ramirez has been among the most aggressive in addressing the security and privacy challenges of the IoT. In addition to sponsoring conferences to discuss the impact of connected devices, the agency has put its foot forward to enforce laws about the collection and sharing of geolocation information. It has also issued fines to companies that fail to properly secure their technology, resulting in harm to consumers.