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Thursday, January 8, 2015

FTC Chair Raises Red Flag Over ‘Smart Home’ Hacking

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez conducts a press conference January 15, 2014, at FTC headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, pictured here in 2014, says “smart home” hacking will be a growing problem, as consumers increasingly connect everyday objects to the Internet. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez raised a red flag over Internet privacy at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Ramirez said “smart home” hacking would be a growing problem this year, as consumers increasingly connect everyday objects to the Internet.

It’s a concept called the Internet of Things, and it’s been a hallmark at this year’s show. But in a speech, Ramirez said risks are growing as connected devices at home transmit and collect vast amounts of private data.

She told the technology website Ars Technica that companies making these home devices need to be more cautious.

“I think companies need to be thinking seriously about it. I think it makes sense from a risk-management perspective because if you think hard about privacy and if you think hard about data security, I think you can avoid problems down the line,” she said.

Ramirez said consumers who use smart thermostats and fitness bands may not know if their data is being shared. She added companies should test security measures before home products launch and consider encryption technology to protect sensitive information.


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