Government regulations could mean tighter security rules on smart devices

The rising use of internet connected household devices is bringing many benefits to consumers. However, there are also concerns over the security of these devices – especially in light of recent breaches, such as the Google Home Mini scandal.

In light of this, the UK government has put forward proposals to introduce labels about how secure the device is and to inform consumers about the potential safety risks.

These would initially be introduced on a voluntary basis. But, it’s been proposed that, eventually, they should be made compulsory in a bid to make sure consumers can identify which products are secure and which ones could pose a security risk to them.

The plans would mean that retailers would only be allowed to sell products that are labelled, and that confirms that the product meets the government security standards and code of practice.

The code of practice is part of a government initiative to improve cybersecurity standards. It includes making sure passwords on devices aren’t resettable to a universal factory setting, making it clear how often the device will need security updates, and making sure they provide contact information for reporting any suspected risks.

This would apply to all connected household devices, including TV’s and smart speakers, and would also include smart thermostats, doorbells, locks, and other internet connected household products.

Digital minister Margot James James said in a statement: “Many consumer products that are connected to the internet are often found to be insecure, putting consumers’ privacy and security at risk.”

“Our code of practice was the first step towards making sure that products have safety features built in from the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought. These new proposals will help to improve the safety of internet-connected devices and is another milestone in our bid to be a global leader in online safety.”

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