CES: F.T.C. Chairwoman Notes Concerns Raised by Connected Devices

via www.engineering.com
via www.engineering.com

The head of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday offered a prescription for protecting consumer data collected by Internet-connected gadgets like wearable fitness trackers and “smart home” devices, previewing themes of a coming report by the agency on Internet privacy and security.

“In the not-too-distant future, many, if not most, aspects of our everyday lives will be digitally observed and stored,” Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of the F.T.C., wrote in remarks for a speech Tuesday afternoon at the International CES technology industry event in Las Vegas. “That data trove will contain a wealth of revealing information that, when patched together, will present a deeply personal and startlingly complete picture of each of us.”

The F.T.C. has been scrutinizing the data collection practices of the technology industry for their effect on consumer privacy. For example, Ms. Ramirez has spoken publicly about the merits of “privacy by design,” in which privacy controls are built into a product from the outset instead of as an afterthought.

Notably, she used her speech on Tuesday to expand that principle to data security, warning that, beyond the series of public hacking attacks affecting Sony and other companies last year, 2015 would be the year that “smart-home hacking” became a realistic threat.

“Any device that is connected to the Internet is at risk of being hijacked,” said Ms. Ramirez, who added that the large number of Internet-connected devices would “increase the number of access points” for hackers.

Read more: CES: F.T.C. Chairwoman Notes Concerns Raised by Connected Devices

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