Government to launch consultation on consumer IoT security

Written by Sam Trendall on 25 April 2019 in News
News

DCMS will seek responses to regulatory proposals

The government is to launch a public consultation on possible regulation for the security of consumer internet of things devices.

Over the last year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published a range of reports and documents related to the security of smart connected devices. This includes the October 2018 release of the Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security, which contains guidance for both manufacturers and consumers. 

Earlier this month, two Labour MPs – Paul Sweeney and Chi Onwurah – posed written parliamentary questions enquiring as to why the government’s recent online harms white paper did not address the issue of IoT security.


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In response, digital minister Margot James said that the publication of the code of practice would “support manufacturers in building strong security into smart products by design”. 

But the government is committed to do more to ensure the safety of IoT devices, she added, and will consult industry and the public on how best to do so.

“The government has taken a number of actions to increase the security of consumer smart devices,” James said. “We recognise that further action is needed, and we will soon be publishing a consultation on our regulatory proposals regarding consumer IoT security.”

Onwurah, the shadow industrial strategy minister, has previously warned of the need for greater security measures to protect smart devices. 

Speaking at a PublicTechnology event last year, she said: “My personal recommendation is: if a device is called ‘smart’ – do not buy it. Smart meters and smart fridges are leaving our citizens open to being hacked. When I raised this in parliament, [I was] accused of scaremongering.”

Despite these concerns, Onwurah – an engineer who has previously worked for various large telecoms firms – still said she is “an internet of things believer”.

“I believe it could change our lives more profoundly than anything since electricity,” she added.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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