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FTC calls on IoT vendors to protect privacy

Grant Gross | Jan. 28, 2015
Companies developing Internet of Things (IoT) products should adopt best practices to protect the privacy and security of consumers, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has recommended.

But the agency's call for broad-based privacy legislation is an attempt to "shoehorn old ideas" onto a new technology, said Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, another tech-focused think tank.

"It is disheartening that the FTC staff has failed to propose a forward-looking regulatory approach to technology that narrowly targets actual harms while leaving companies free to innovate," Castro said post on the ITIF's site. "In particular, in calling for companies to reduce their use of data, the FTC misses the point that data is the driving force behind innovation in today's information economy."

The FTC report could also slow the growth of IoT, added Steve DelBianco, executive director of e-commerce think tank NetChoice. The report "risks scaring consumers and businesses away from a technology the report calls a new area of growth," DelBianco said by email. 

The Software and Information Industry Association trade group, however, applauded the report, saying it "strikes the right balance" between security and innovation. Instead of major new legislation, the FTC report "is promoting a set of best practices that guide companies to be responsible stewards of data," SIIA said in a statement.

 

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