On May 16, 2018, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will hold a public hearing on the Internet of Things (IoT) and consumer product hazards. The CPSC has previously voiced concern about (or, at least the need to evaluate) the harms IoT technology and smart products may cause to consumers.
In 2016, former Chairman Kaye asked “CPSC technical, compliance, and information technology staff to research what new and potential consumer products may become available, or gain wider use, in the next 3 to 5 years, and to identify potentially new, increased, or decreased consumer hazards associated with these emerging technologies.” The result of that project was published in a January 2017 staff report, Potential Hazards Associated with Emerging and Future Technologies, which discussed the possible harms from IoT products. In the summer of 2017, Commissioner Robinson traveled to Israel to discuss with academic experts, business leaders, and industry stakeholders the “many possible consumer product safety consequences to new, innovative, and technologically advanced products” including smart technology. Her goal was to inspire Israeli scientists and technologists to find technical solutions for many of the emerging product safety hazards resulting from IoT and smart technology. In February 2018 at both the International Consumer Product Safety and Health Organization’s Annual Symposium and The New York Toy Fair, Acting Chairwoman Buerkle further reiterated the CPSC’s commitment to figuring out solutions to the potential hazards that connected products bring to the marketplace by working with CPSC stakeholders.
This upcoming hearing presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to help shape CPSC’s policy related to IoT and smart technology products. CPSC has broad jurisdiction over 15,000 product lines, including toys, cribs, power tools, ATVs, cigarette lighters, small appliances, furniture, electronics, and household products. For companies that sell, manufacture, or import consumer products connected to the Internet, the CPSC is requesting your direct input in this process. CPSC views concerns related to consumer products with IoT capability in two categories: