Press Release | March 22, 2021

Public-Private Collaboration is Critical to Consumer IoT Security, U.S. Innovation, Says CTA

Laura Ambrosio

A newly released white paper from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, Smart Policy to Secure Our Smart Future: How to Promote a Secure Internet of Things for Consumers, shows how the current regulatory approach to Internet of Things (IoT) security protects consumers by ensuring their favorite connected devices put security first and why labeling and other proposals are often ineffective. As the new administration considers executive action on security labeling of smart devices, CTA urges President Biden and Congress to continue working with the technology industry on the security of IoT devices.  

“From smart lights and voice assistants to digital health sensors and fitness wearables, consumer IoT devices make our lives safer, healthier, easier and more productive,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “Our nation’s technology industry works closely with policymakers to make sure these devices are secure against emerging threats such as botnets. A ‘light-touch' regulatory approach to cybersecurity both powers innovation and protects consumers. As the number and applications of IoT devices grows exponentially, policymakers must embrace this momentum to help ensure our nation’s global tech leadership.”  

The CTA white paper explores the regulatory environment, describes policy proposals to drive consumer IoT device security, explains why certain well-intentioned proposals, such as security labeling may fall short in promoting security and summarizes CTA’s prior work on developing cybersecurity standards.  

CTA urges the government to promote innovation and protect consumers by:  

  • Creatively partnering with the private sector to improve consumer IoT security;    
  • Fostering industry-driven best practices for consumer device cybersecurity, not mandates;  
  • Providing legal safe harbors for companies that choose to use any certifications or labels;  
  • Harmonizing standards and expectations, domestically and internationally; and  
  • Working with industry on specific efforts to educate consumers about their role in security.  

According to the white paper, the number of IoT devices worldwide will nearly triple by 2023, surpassing 40 billion units. Already, American tech companies are leveraging the IoT to build a 5G future, drive economic growth and provide solutions to consumers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IoT devices have become increasingly essential – allowing Americans to connect to friends and family and gain access to telemedicine, online education, remote work and more.  

In 2019, CTA convened 20 major cybersecurity and technology organizations, industry associations, consortia and standards bodies in an unprecedented industry effort to identify baseline security capabilities for the rapidly growing IoT marketplace. The work of this group, known as Convene the Conveners or C2, resulted in a voluntary industry consensus standard for IoT baseline security, ANSI/CTA 2088, that protects consumers.  

Read the full white paper, Smart Policy to Secure Our Smart Future: How to Promote a Secure Internet of Things for Consumers.