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Internet of Things Update: CPSC to Consider Safety of IoT Products

Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) issued a Public Notice announcing that it will be conducting a hearing on May 16, 2018 to receive information from all interested parties about potential safety issues and hazards associated with Internet-connected consumer products.

This hearing reflects the CPSC’s recognition that although IoT products hold the promise of many benefits for consumers, such products raise safety concerns where none existed in the past and pose a challenge for regulators, standards organizations, industry actors, and consumer advocates alike to address.  Accordingly, the CPSC has invited comment and testimony on over twenty questions raised in the Public Notice, broadly covering the following topics:

  • Hazards related to the use and misuse of IoT products;

  • IoT product safety standards (e.g., applicable existing safety standards and guidelines, voluntary vs. mandatory standards, appropriate standard-setting bodies);

  • Industry best practices for predicting, mitigating, and preventing IoT-caused hazards; and

  • The role of the CPSC and others in regulating IoT products (e.g., interagency and/or international collaboration, involvement of outside stakeholders, consumer education).

The CPSC will not consider the privacy or data security implications of IoT products at the hearing, as the Public Notice explains that such issues extend beyond the agency’s jurisdiction.

The hearing will take place at 10 AM on May 16, 2018 at the CPSC.  Requests to make oral presentations, and the written text of any oral presentations, must be received by the CPSC by no later than 5 PM on May 2, 2018.  The CPSC will, however, accept written comments through June 15, 2018.

© 2018 Covington & Burling LLP

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About this Author

Sarah Wilson, Covington, litigation attorney
Partner

Sarah L. Wilson is a litigation partner and former federal judge whose practice focuses on litigation and investigations. Ms. Wilson chairs the firm’s Product Safety Practice Group. She advises products manufacturers on product safety laws, and has represented the world’s largest automotive and consumer product companies in recall and post-recall investigations and disputes. She has handled a broad range of civil and criminal disputes, including consumer protection and product liability disputes, False Claims Act litigation, environmental and natural resources litigation...

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Brandon Johnson, Covington, Regulatory and public policy lawyer
Associate

Brandon Johnson advises clients in the television, telecommunications, and technology industries on a wide range of regulatory and privacy issues.

Representative Matters

  • Assists broadcast owners in retransmission consent and network affiliation negotiations.
  • Represented a large Spanish-language media company in rulemaking proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Advised television clients in the preparation of channel sharing agreements submitted in connection with the Federal Communication Commission’s broadcast incentive auction.
  • Conducts pre-publication review of broadcast news stories and advises broadcast television stations on defamation, copyright, and newsgathering issues.
  • Counsels media and technology companies on privacy matters.
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