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#DefCon FTC Stresses IoT Concerns

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has called for better development of connected devices for consumer privacy.

Speaking at Def Con in Las Vegas, Lorrie Cranor and attorney Terrell McSweeney said that the Internet of Things (IoT) connects in “new and exciting ways”, but as machines are getting smarter, the FTC is concerned about protecting consumers and privacy risks.

McSweeney said: “The FTC is not just an enforcer, but an advocate to put in place responses to help customers remain informed, and make improvements to our lives as well.”

Detailing a “Research Wish List”, McSweeney said that its Office of Technology (OTEC) were talking to researchers, but the FTC was aware of risks and wanted to look at what metrics can be used to protect consumers and how to make certain types of attacks less profitable and less valuable to pursue.

“IoT devices are new and we are interested in research that will help manufacturers and defense measures, so if there is an issue it does not compromise the whole network, and sensors in children’s toys so we are interested in those too,” she said.

Cranor also identified artificial intelligence, and asked if consumers were aware of how they were interacting with a machine, and virtual reality which “is a new area with a lot of progress and devices, but there is not much discussion of privacy issues and make sure we protect consumers as well”.

McSweeney said that it was also interested in new tools and techniques that consumers can use, and data sharing between smartphones and Smart TVs, tools that analyse apps and types of data sharing, and in algorithms to make decisions on people that discriminate people, also tools that identify vulnerabilities in IoT devices.

“What we are trying to do is we cannot solve all of the challenges that challenge consumers without partnerships,” she said.

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