Lawmakers reintroduce legislation to secure internet-connected devices

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Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Wednesday again rolled out legislation intended to help secure internet-connected devices and increase consumer confidence in them. 

The Cyber Shield Act would create a voluntary cybersecurity certification program for internet-connected devices, also known as Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These include everything from mobile phones to smart kitchen appliances to baby monitors, with more devices in use every year. 

The bill would also establish an advisory committee made up of cybersecurity experts in government, the private sector and academia to create security benchmarks for internet-connected devices. The benchmarks would enable the devices’ manufacturers to voluntarily label their products to show they have met these standards. 

Markey and Lieu previously introduced the legislation in both the House and Senate in 2019, but it never got a vote in either chamber. 

Markey said Wednesday that “IoT” would also stand for “Internet of Threats until we put in place appropriate cybersecurity safeguards.”

“With as many as 75 billion IoT devices projected to be in our pockets and homes by 2025, cybersecurity continues to pose a direct threat to economic prosperity, personal privacy, and global security,” Markey said in a statement. 

“By creating a cybersecurity certification program, the Cyber Shield Act will give consumers a seal of approval for more secure products, as well as encourage manufacturers to adopt the best cybersecurity practices so they can compete in the marketplace for safety,” he added. 

Lieu noted that the legislation would encourage “the idea that cybersecurity should be top of mind for industry and consumers alike.”

“Championing innovation is important, because technological advancement can make our lives easier and more efficient,” Lieu said in a separate statement. “But, for every smart refrigerator or wifi-enabled baby monitor, there comes increased cybersecurity risks that make consumers vulnerable to hacking and invasions of privacy. As we connect more parts of our lives to the internet, we have to make sure we’re doing it safely. That’s where Sen. Markey and my Cyber Shield Act comes in.”

Lawmakers have increasingly zeroed in on securing internet-connected devices in recent years, as Americans take advantage of emerging technologies in their homes. 

Former President Trump signed legislation in December that requires all internet-connected devices purchased by the federal government to be in compliance with minimum security standards, and that groups providing devices to the government notify agencies of any vulnerabilities. 

Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) last month introduced legislation to allow for the growth of IoT devices and spectrum to support them. This legislation has not yet seen action in the House.

Tags Computer security cybersecurity Donald Trump Ed Markey Internet of Things John Katko Suzan DelBene Ted Lieu
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