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    FTC: Marketer of Internet-Connected Home Security Cameras Settles Charges It Failed to Protect Consumers’ Privacy

    The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with TRENDnet, which markets devices that can be part 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 says:

    A company that markets video cameras designed to allow consumers to monitor their homes remotely has settled Federal Trade Commission charges that its lax security practices exposed the private lives of hundreds of consumers to public viewing on the Internet. […]

    The FTC’s complaint alleges that TRENDnet marketed its SecurView cameras for purposes ranging from home security to baby monitoring, and claimed in numerous product descriptions that they were “secure.”  In fact, the cameras had faulty software that left them open to online viewing, and in some instances listening, by anyone with the cameras’ Internet address. […]

    Under the terms of its settlement with the Commission, TRENDnet is prohibited from misrepresenting the security of its cameras or the security, privacy, confidentiality, or integrity of the information that its cameras or other devices transmit. In addition, the company is barred from misrepresenting the extent to which a consumer can control the security of information the cameras or other devices store, capture, access, or transmit.

    In addition, TRENDnet is required to establish a comprehensive information security program designed to address security risks that could result in unauthorized access to or use of the company’s devices, and to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of information that is stored, captured, accessed, or transmitted by its devices.  The company also is required to obtain third-party assessments of its security programs every two years for the next 20 years.

    The settlement also requires TRENDnet to notify customers about the security issues with the cameras and the availability of the software update to correct them, and to provide customers with free technical support for the next two years to assist them in updating or uninstalling their cameras.

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