FTC Creates Investigative Arm To Monitor IoT, Big Data

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking interest in the rise of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). Specifically, the federal agency wants to ensure the technologies donEUt compromise consumer privacy, so it has set up a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI) to look into it.

The OTRI will provide research, investigative techniques and insights to the agency on technology issues involving all facets of the FTCEUs consumer protection mission, including privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and IoT.

EUThe FTC keeps its finger on the pulse of markets, channeling its resources to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair practices involving new technologies,EU said Jessica Rich, director of the FTCEUs Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a blog post. She described the initiative as a way to ensure EUconsumers enjoy the benefits of technological progress without being placed at risk of deceptive and unfair practices.EU

Privacy and Security Concerns

The FTCEUs efforts seem to be on target. Although IoT is clearly gaining momentum, consumers are concerned about privacy and security.

Nearly 65 percent of American consumers are moderately or extremely interested in adopting smart home solutions, according to new research from the Internet of Things Consortium. And 71 percent of those consumers buy smart home products and services based on word-of-mouth referrals from people they trust or in-store employee recommendations.

Two-thirds of respondents are concerned about privacy. In fact, across age, gender and income, 66 percent of survey respondents express concern about privacy. This finding highlights the need for industry participants to mitigate privacy and security concerns to drive the industry forward, according to the researchers.

Welcoming Some Oversight

We asked Zeus Kerravala, a principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his thoughts about the FTC getting involved in the nascent but growing IoT industry. He...

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