Wicker, Hassan Introduce Internet of Things Consumer TIPS Act

Bipartisan Legislation Would Promote Consumer Awareness of Internet-Connected Device Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., today introduced the “Internet of Things Consumer Tips to Improve Personal Security Act (IOT Consumer TIPS Act) of 2017,” S. 2234, a bill that would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop cyber-security resources for consumers, addressing how consumers can protect themselves against cybercriminals targeting internet-connected devices, widely known as the “Internet of Things (IoT).” This is part of a broader effort by the Senators to improve cybersecurity.

“With the holiday season upon us, many consumers are buying the latest internet-connected devices for their loved ones. As these devices enter the marketplace, it is important that Americans know how to protect themselves from cybercriminals,” Senator Wicker said. “If enacted, this legislation would help consumers learn a few simple tricks to help guard against potential cyber intrusions.”

“As more and more devices that we rely upon in our daily lives become interconnected and internet-accessible, we must enhance our cybersecurity and prevent the ability of hackers to disrupt our economy and the flow of information,” Senator Hassan said. “There is a lot that consumers can do to protect themselves and their internet-connected devices from cyberattacks. By helping to develop cybersecurity resources for consumer education and awareness around devices that are part of the Internet of Things, the bipartisan TIPS Act is a critical step we can take to strengthen our cyber defenses.”

The IOT Consumer TIPS Act would foster consumer confidence in IoT devices by providing resources for consumers to protect their devices from cybercriminals. IoT devices include connected appliances and machines such as refrigerators, thermostats, cars, lights, home security cameras, and wearable technology including watches and clothes. Studies estimate that there will be 8.4 billion connected things in use in 2017 and over 20 billion IoT devices will be in use by 2020. With the increasing number of IoT devices, cyber-attacks have become increasingly prevalent as consumers often lack the knowledge necessary to prevent simple cyber intrusions.

Specifically, the legislation would require the FTC to develop resources on their website to help consumers:

Identify the scope of security support from IoT device vendor after purchase;
Initiate or set-up an IoT device for use;
Update the software of an IoT device during operation or use;
Recover or fix compromised IoT devices;
Reset, delete, or modify data collected or retained by an IoT device when it is no longer in use; and
Access security services, tools or platforms that may help consumers manage connected devices.