Now Federal Trade Commission will Examine Security of Every Single Smart Device

The FTC has introduced a new office, which is going to deal with the security and privacy risks emerged in new digital technologies. Its name is OTRI and will cover a plethora of different products and services, where cutting-edge technologies are applied.

The Internet has become a necessity for the vast majority of people everywhere, with a growing number of sophisticated “smart” devices taking over the lead and being characterized as essential in our daily lives. Nobody can easily imagine a whole day without connecting to the web, logging in to check on e-mails or communicating with friends, family and business associates via VoIP.

Along with that, there are cutting-edge devices that have emerged within the last few years; take a look at the Internet-connected cars or the automated home with its devices and remote control options, for instance. Now, dangers emerge as frequently as the different devices that are introduced to the public. Don’t you agree that it is high time for closer and more thorough control to be applied to these devices?

The gap in security control is meant to be filled by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its new office that will be responsible for such monitoring of digital technologies. The new office will be the Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI) and will cover a wide range of devices and connections to the Internet. If you recall the Mobile and Technology Unit of the same source (meaning the FTC), OTRI will be its more powerful replacement.

In an announcement released earlier on Monday, Jessica Reich from the Bureau of Consumer Protection appeared quite optimistic about the newly formed initiative: “Today, I am pleased to announce the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s newest initiative to help ensure that consumers enjoy the benefits of technological progress without being placed at risk of deceptive and unfair practices – the formation of BCP’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The OTRI will continue the great work performed by the Mobile Technology Unit, but will take on an even broader mandate and be staffed with additional technologists.”

The fact that new technologies are being introduced in a constantly changing market globally has been addressed as the major challenge to be faced by OTRI, including electronic payments and home automation, gadgets of advanced technology and various other products or services: “New consumer technologies are coming online daily – and BCP’s OTRI will make sure that the FTC is protecting consumers in emerging marketplaces.”, according to Jessica Reich.

There have been worries and concerns as to the privacy and security of the Internet of Things on behalf of FTC for a long time; this is why they have been trying hard to come up with the most efficient methods of dealing with the flaws and vulnerabilities that are bound to emerge with the use of the Internet. Public workshops are being held on a regular basis, bringing to light the issues that need to be handled and even suggesting methods in which these issues can be effectively tackled with.

Multiple devices are being used by people all over the globe, making the task of their powerful and thorough security even more challenging and jeopardized. The initiatives that are taken towards facing the threats and trying to overcome them (either by diminishing them or by eliminating them altogether) are certainly encouraging, as knowing what you are dealing with is the first step towards success!

Pierluigi Paganini Cyber Security Analyst; Member, European Union Agency for Network and Information Security Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group; Founder, Security Affairs Blog. Co-author of The Deep Dark Web: The Hidden World.
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