FTC to begin planning regulations for the "Internet of things"

Connected home devices, such as network-enabled baby monitors, are often referred to as the "Internet of things," and as with other devices, will soon come under scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission. Come November, the FTC will hold a meeting to deliberate about how it will regulate such connected devices, including issues related to how such gadgets share data.

Some aspects of the FTC's focus will include questions regarding how connected devices offer their connectivity, such as wireless network support and barcodes, as well as where the technology presently is and where it is anticipated to be in the future. How consumers benefit from the Internet of things technology, what security and privacy issues are present with connected devices, and how the risks fall alongside benefits will also be discussed.

The FTC is accepting submissions from certain parties on these matters of discussion for the next couple weeks, with the information being factored into what will ultimately result in regulations for the connected devices. The industry is a relatively new one, and current FTC definitions applied to things like Web privacy could end up expanded or otherwise tweaked.

Back in early September, the Commission took its first ever action against connected home devices, hitting maker TRENDnet over repeated instances of false claims and lax network security. In some instances, a device's password could be bypassed, giving others access to the camera's video feed. As part of that case, TRENDnet had to settle with the FTC by agreeing to stop making its security claims and more.