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Curtis’s Bill to Protect Consumer Privacy Gets Committee Hearing

Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection held a hearing on Congressman Curtis’s bill, the Informing Consumers About Smart Devices Act.

“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. “Privacy, especially within our homes, should be a choice for consumers, and I am glad that Rep. Moulton and I have fostered a broad coalition of support for this legislation.”

“We should be allowed to make informed decisions about the electronic eavesdroppers we invite into our homes. But we can’t do it if big tech hides microphones and cameras that are always listening in refrigerators, toasters, and other household gadgets,” said Rep. Moulton. “Let’s pass this bill so consumers know when big tech is listening in.”


The legislation is in response to reports of household devices listening to individuals’ conversations without their knowledge. While some manufacturers have taken steps to more clearly label their products that contain listening devices, this legislation would make this information clear to consumers without overly burdensome requirements. 

Specifically, the bill requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work alongside industry leaders to establish guidelines for properly disclosing the potential for their products to contain audio or visual recording capabilities on devices where this is not clearly the item’s intent. The legislation provides manufacturers the option of requesting customized guidance from the FTC that fits within their existing marketing or branding practices, in addition to permitting these disclosures pre- or post-sale of their products.