Curtis’ bipartisan smart devices bill advances to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives this week voted 406-12 to pass a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) that would require manufacturers of internet-connected devices that are equipped with a camera or microphone to disclose the existence of those components to consumers.

“This common-sense and bipartisan bill ensures consumers are aware of the recording capabilities of items they are putting in their homes, while also balancing flexibility for companies who are developing smart technologies,” said Rep. Curtis. “I am grateful to my colleagues for helping pass this important legislation and look forward to its eventual passage in the Senate.”

The Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act, H.R. 538, which Rep. Curtis sponsored on Jan. 26 with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), was received in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 28. The measure was referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to create reasonable disclosure guidelines for products like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and dishwashers that have audio or visual recording components that are capable of recording and transmitting data without consumers’ knowledge, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Curtis’ staff.

The guidelines in the proposed bill would not include a telephone or mobile phone, a laptop, tablet, or any device that a consumer would reasonably expect to have a microphone or camera; nor any device that is specifically marketed as a camera, telecommunications device, or microphone, according to the text of the bill.