#400 Feb 09 2015 – FTC Holds off on Regulating Internet of Things

This week’s headline story: FTC Holds off on Regulating Internet of Things

20140102_051507_ssjm1228things90_500If you think maintaining privacy is a challenge in this era of the Internet just wait until the Internet of Things (IoT) really takes off. Over the next few years all kinds of consumer products will gain the ability to sense, record and transmit information about human activity in the physical world. It’s expected that 30 billion products will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Some think it would be wise to create laws to protect individual privacy on the Internet of Things before it really takes off. Last week the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stated that now is not the time to enact privacy or security laws aimed directly at the impact of the IoT. The FTC argues that such specific legislation could stymie the development of IoT technology. “The commission staff recognizes that this industry is in its relatively early stages. Staff does not believe that the privacy and security risks, though real, need to be addressed through IoT-specific legislation at this time,” the agency said in the report. “Staff agrees with those commenters who stated that there is great potential for innovation in this area, and that legislation aimed specifically at the IoT at this stage would be premature,” the FTC said. The FTC instead is promoting a set of best practices that guide companies to be responsible stewards of data.

FTC Argues Against IoT Law, For Now [Ecommerce Times]

in other tech news…

  • F.C.C. Plans Strong Hand to Regulate the Internet [NYTimes]
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Tom Wheeler, has been working on new rules to ensure so-called net neutrality, or an open Internet. The New York Times reported that Mr. Wheeler has proposed regulating consumer Internet service as a public utility, saying it was the right path to net neutrality. His proposal includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and ensuring Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas. Mr. Wheeler’s plan would also for the first time give the F.C.C. enforcement powers to police practices of Internet service providers in handling data that flows to consumer devices. He’s even included a “future conduct” standard to cover unforeseen problems. This is by far the most aggressive proposal for net neutrality ever attempted, and is sure to meet with resistance from industry and conservatives.
  • A Battery for Electronics That Lasts Twice as Long [MIT Technology Review]
    A startup called SolidEnergy has developed a kind of lithium-ion battery that stores far more energy than todays batteries that power mobile devices. Kevin Bullis of MIT’s Technology Review says that “battery makers have been trying to use lithium-metal electrodes in batteries for decades, with only limited success. SolidEnergy seems to have solved a couple of key problems, which have caused such batteries to either stop working after a few charges or burst into flames.”

in Information Security News…

  • Experts Say Anthem ‘Lucky’ that Employee Spotted Breach [NewsFactor]
    Health insurance giant Anthem Inc. has reported a security breach that led to personal information, including Social Security numbers, of as many as 80 million customers and employees being moved out of the company’s network. Analysts say “It’s rare and it’s lucky, “that one of Anthem’s employees noticed the suspicious use of a login on Jan. 27, otherwise the breach that lasted a few weeks may have gone undiscovered for months. It’s not unusual for cyberattacks of this type to last three to six months before they are discovered, experts said.
  • Google Removed Over 524 Million ‘Bad’ Ads Last Year [NewsFactor]
    Google cracked down on unscrupulous advertisers last year, disabling more than 524 million bad ads and banning more than 214,000 advertisers who were misusing ads for harmful or deceptive purposes.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Have Tablets Peaked? First Decline in Sales Recorded [NewsFactor]
    Today, tablets may be as popular as they ever will be. For the first time in years, tablet sales have begun declining, leading some analysts to speculate that the public interest in tablets has peaked.
  • AT&T Takes Top Spot for Customer Care, Says J.D. Powers [NewsFactor]
    Which cell company provides the best customer service? According to a J.D. Powers survey its AT&T! On a 1,000-point scale, AT&T earned 786 points for full-service wireless customer care, compared to the average score of 773. T-Mobile came in second with 777 points, while Verizon Wireless earned 771 points and Sprint placed last with 746 points.
  • Verizon Cuts Prices, Ups Data on Some Plans [NewsFactor]
    Now that its “More Everything” holiday promotions have ended, Verizon is cutting prices by $10 a month on most of its data plans under 10 GB. The nation’s largest wireless carrier is also letting customers opt for more data for the same prices they are currently paying. The new pricing promotions are effective immediately.

and finally,

  • High-tech Japanese hotel to employ human-like robot staff [Engadget]
    A new hotel in Nagasaki Japan, named Henn-na Hotel, is completely staffed by robots! Lifelike attractive androids check-in customers at the front desk, industrial robots deliver bags to rooms and respond to room service requests, make coffee, clean rooms and do laundry. The Henn-na hotel features cutting edge technologies throughout: facial recognition tech to open guest rooms, a system that detects body heat to auto-adjust room temperatures and the use of tablets to call for room service.

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