The Government Wants to Know What Scares People About The Internet of Things


From web-connected refrigerators that tell you when to get groceries to connected cars that talk with each other and even popular digital assistant speakers, the internet of things is playing a growing role in our lives.

While some are hopeful about the technology's potential, others, such as the the Consumer Product Safety Commission, are concerned. 

The agency is officially accepting public comments regarding any thoughts, fears, safety issues, hazards and concerns citizens have regarding internet of things products, according to an announcement in the Federal Register

The CPSC even provided a helpful list:

  • Remote operation: For example, the remote activation of the heating elements on a cooktop could create a fire or burn hazard.
  • Unexpected operating conditions: A product might work safely on delivery, but a software/firmware code is changed (malicious or otherwise) during subsequent network access, creating a hazard where none existed before, such as a robotic vacuum cleaner that suddenly begins operating much faster than expected.
  • Loss of a safety function: For example, if an integrated home security and safety system fails to download a software update properly, the default condition may be to deactivate the system, resulting in disabling the smoke alarms without the consumer's knowledge.

If you have thoughts regarding the dangers surrounding the Internet of Things, hypothetical, real or otherwise, you can submit your comment here. The commission will be holding a hearing on May 16 to address these comments.