Concerns about loss of privacy are driving potential new legislation in Pennsylvania that would require smart home device manufacturers to obtain an opt-in consent from consumers before being able to share their data.
The legislation being introduced in the Pennsylvania House is authored by Rep. Christopher Rabb (D) is called the Smart Technology Disclosure Act.
“Smart home technology has made locking our doors, setting our thermostats, turning on and off lights, and even asking devices to take care of many of these tasks simple for millions of Pennsylvanians, all through a connection to the Internet,” says Rabb.
“Whether it is through the use of a smart television that can help us find shows and movies that are similar to those we routinely watch, a smart phone that allows us to monitor our homes, arm and disarm door locks and even make sure that we closed our garage door when we left the house in the morning, or virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri that can answer our questions, record our grocery lists and call for a shared ride or pizza simply by saying a ‘wake’ word, these smart devices make use of current technology to streamline mundane tasks.
“While smart devices are undoubtedly useful, smart device manufacturers, third party applications, and others with access to consumers’ information have been known to collect consumers’ data and sell it to third parties without their consent. As these devices continue to gain popularity, it is crucial that manufacturers and third parties are transparent in the collection of consumers’ data,” he says.
The Smart Technology Disclosure Act would address this issue by requiring smart device manufacturers and third parties seek opt-in consent to data collection, disclose the information they collect from consumers, and establish privacy programs to protect sensitive information. Additionally, the bill would establish the Smart Technology Disclosure Fund to compensate consumers in the event a smart device manufacturer or other entity violates the law.