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Protecting Consumers in the Era of IoT – CDT Comments to the Consumer Product Safety Commission

With its recall authority and broad mission to protect consumers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC or the Commission) plays an essential role in protecting the public against hazards associated with products such as toys, refrigerators, and lawn mowers. Increasingly, such potential hazards are becoming digital, as products of all kinds incorporate computers and networks to make them “smarter.” As federal agencies explore their role in the digital realm, the CPSC should direct its authority to protecting consumers from the real and growing threats associated with these Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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When IoT Kills: Preparing for Digital Products Liability

Today we released a paper that examines issues in product liability for Internet of Thing (IoT) devices to mark the start of a research agenda in this area. We expect that the digital technology industry is about to undergo a process of change akin to what the automobile industry experienced in the 1960s and 70s. Then, as now, insufficient security measures, dangerous design or adding-on of security features post-design were widely accepted industry practice. Those practices had to change as the perils of unsafe cars became obvious – as is increasingly the case today with IoT devices.

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Tech Talk: IoT Liability, ICE Those License Plate Readers

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we talk about liability and the Internet of Things – who should be held accountable if something goes seriously wrong? We also look into ICE’s use of a massive license plate reader database and address what the public needs to know.

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The Ethics of Design: Unintended (But Foreseeable) Consequences

When data becomes divorced from its human origins, it loses context and disassociates companies from their actions – it enables decisions that defy expectations and ethics. Tech companies have experienced widespread backlash as a consequence of this disconnect. Fitness social network Strava is the latest example, after the company publicly released a heat map of aggregate user locations that inadvertently revealed U.S. military bases and personnel around the world.

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Tech Talk: Good intentions, bad policy?

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we look at how attempts to address the serious issue of online sex-trafficking could unintentionally harm broader online free speech. We also take a look at a new art installation aimed at highlighting online privacy risks.

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Tech Talk: EdTech Privacy Practices and Policy Challenges for Driverless Cars

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we talk to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who looked at the privacy policies and practices of EdTech startups. We also talk about the future of autonomous vehicles, looking in-depth at a package of bills coming out of Congress aimed at creating nationwide standards to expedite deployment.

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Three Core Security & Privacy Issues of Connected Vehicles

Connected vehicles have tremendous potential to reshape the transportation landscape – bringing important safety and efficiency benefits but also creating new security and privacy risks. In addition, there are long-standing security and privacy issues that, if not resolved, will be compounded with the continued trends towards greater use of software and connectivity in motor vehicles. Our comments focus on three main issues: the need for secure software, the increasing dependence on critical information infrastructures, and the need for greater transparency around data privacy.

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