The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will conduct a workshop on November 21, 2013, on the privacy and security implications of the “Internet of Things,” which is a computerized network of physical objects. In IoT, sensors and data storage devices embedded in objects interact with Web services. (For more on privacy and the IoT, see a Center for Democracy and Technology report that I consulted on and contributed to, “Building the Digital Out-Of-Home Privacy Infrastructure.”) The FTC is seeking public comments. It said:
The staff of the Federal Trade Commission is interested in the consumer privacy and security issues posed by the growing connectivity of consumer devices, such as cars, appliances, and medical devices, and invites comments on these issues in advance of a public workshop to be held on November 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
The ability of everyday devices to communicate with each other and with people is becoming more prevalent and often is referred to as “The Internet of Things.” [...]
Connected devices can communicate with consumers, transmit data back to companies, and compile data for third parties such as researchers, health care providers, or even other consumers, who can measure how their product usage compares with that of their neighbors. The devices can provide important benefits to consumers: they can handle tasks on a consumer’s behalf, improve efficiency, and enable consumers to control elements of their home or work environment from a distance. At the same time, the data collection and sharing that smart devices and greater connectivity enable pose privacy and security risks. Read more »