The CPSC Releases Framework of Safety for the Internet of Things

The rapidly developing technology of interconnected software allows consumers to reach new heights of convenience and efficiency. We can start our dinner remotely, listen to our music in every room in the house, track and log our heart rate and step count, and program our coffeepot to be ready for us in the morning. This technology sometimes is called the Internet of Things (IoT), which describes the interconnectedness of devices via the internet. These devices can exchange data between themselves to coordinate a variety of helpful functions. While this technology is exciting and signifies many positive new directions for consumer products, manufacturers should be aware of the potential risks that come with creating such products.

To that end, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a Framework of Safety for the IoT (the CPSC Framework) in January 2019. The CPSC Framework provides “technology-neutral best practices to ensure consumer product safety” and to prevent “death, physical injury or illness” resulting from the use of IoT products. It is not intended to address privacy or confidentiality. While general in tone, the CPSC Framework is intended to assist with an “active approach” to safety rather than a reactive one in this quickly growing industry.

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Regulating the Internet of Things: CPSC Holds Public Hearing To Address The Risk of Hazardization in Smart Products

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently held a public hearing to discuss its potential role in overseeing the safety of smart devices collectively referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). As Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled devices ranging from coffeemakers to thermostats to medical devices flood the marketplace, regulators and consumer safety advocates alike have raised concerns about whether the current framework of government regulations adequately protects consumers. While the hearing was only one step towards increased regulation, it did highlight possible steps the CPSC may take, as well as possible pitfalls raised by industry members and the legal community.

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