U.S. F.T.C. calls for strong data, privacy protection with connected devices

“As consumers increasingly adopt devices that can collect information and transmit it to the Internet, the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday called on technology companies that sell those products to institute comprehensive measures to protect users’ data security and privacy,” Natasha Singer reports for The New York Times.

“Advancements like in-car sensors, which can record vehicle location and speed, or glucose monitors that can send information on diabetic patients to their doctors, have huge potential benefits, like reducing traffic accidents or improving public health,” Singer reports. “But the agency said the devices, which make up the so-called Internet of Things, also raise serious security and privacy risks that could undermine consumers’ confidence.”

“About 4.9 billion connected items for consumers, manufacturing and utilities will be in use this year, according to estimates from Gartner, a technology research firm. That number is expected to rise to 25 billion by 2020, the company said,” Singer reports. “One concern is that hackers or malefactors could potentially hijack and misuse intimate information recorded by Internet-connect devices to the detriment of consumers. Last year, for instance, an electronics company that marketed what it said were ‘secure’ Internet-connected cameras, allowing parents to remotely monitor their babies, settled a complaint by the F.T.C. that lax security practices had exposed its customers to privacy invasions. A security flaw allowed anyone with the cameras’ Internet addresses to view, and in some cases hear, what was happening in customers’ homes, the agency said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Prompting IoT makers to focus on security upfront is a good thing.

Call us paranoid, but first see the related articles below. That’s why we use camJAMR iSight camera covers on our iMacs and MacBook Airs. They’re black, so they work perfectly with our iMacs and they’re removable/reusable. We’ve stuck and unstuck them hundreds of times. We just leave them on and peel them aside when we want to use the iSight camera. Plus they’re only $12.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Orwellian: UK government, with aid from US NSA, intercepted webcam images from millions of users – February 27, 2014
Sextortion warning: It’s masking tape time for webcams – June 28, 2013
Research shows how Mac webcams can spy on their users without warning light – December 18, 2013
Ex-official: FBI can secretly activate an individual’s webcam without indicator light – December 9, 2013
Lower Merion report: MacBook webcams snapped 56,000 clandestine images of high schoolers – April 20, 2010


  1. OK, so it might be bad if strangers hack into your systems. But there needs to be a backdoor because, well, among all those millions of drivers and consumers and ordinary folks there might be a terrorist or a child molester.

  2. And I thought I was the only paranoid person who keeps their webcam covered. Of course, you are not paranoid if they really are after you.

    But onto the subject at hand, while I’m into everything hi-tech, I am very reluctant to adopt some of these new home gadgets that help you control your house. Nest-like thermostats and door locks connected to your wi-fi simply invite hackers to do nasty things, even if they don’t break into your house when they know you are not home.

    If Apple released some of these products I’d feel a little better that they are secure, but most of the small companies inventing these devices don’t know squat about installing good security on these devices.

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