Curtis, Cruz Lead Coalition to Re-Introduce Consumer Protection Bill
Washington, D.C., January 25, 2023
Washington, D.C. — Today, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act in the Senate. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.
"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 Representative Curtis.
The bill aims to protect consumer privacy by requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create reasonable disclosure guidelines for products that have audio or visual recording components, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, and dishwashers that are not clearly obvious. The legislation addresses concerns that many consumers may not be aware of the growing number of household devices and appliances that include cameras and/or microphones that are capable of recording and transmitting data without their knowledge.
"As the number of smart devices found in homes steadily climbs, consumers deserve greater transparency about how these devices work and how they impact privacy," said Senator Cruz. "Americans should know if the fridge is recording their families’ words and movements, and they should know whether their virtual assistant is transmitting audio recordings of private family conversations."
"By 2026, it’s estimated that over 84 million households will have smart devices," said Senator Cantwell. "Most consumers expect their refrigerators to keep the milk cold, not come equipped with a camera or microphone to record their personal and private family discussions. I’m happy to work with Senator Cruz on a bill that will ensure consumers know whether their household appliances are capable of invading their privacy."
"We should be allowed to make informed decisions about the electronic eavesdroppers we invite into our homes," said Representative Moulton. "Let’s pass this bill so consumers know when big tech is listening in."
The Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act has received support from a broad coalition of consumer advocacy groups and technology companies. Last Congress it passed the House unanimously.