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The FTC and IoT Defending Against Zealous Tech

The FTC and IoT Defending Against Zealous Tech

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Episode 77

Lose five pounds of belly fat in five days! Sound too good to be true? Yeah, it probably is and because of that you would expect the FTC to be all over it. But instead of weight loss products, what about IoT products? What’s fair? What’s deceptive? In this episode of the IoT show I speak with Jared Ho about the FTC’s role in IoT and some guidelines to help your company navigate through the gray.

In this episode of the IoT show I speak with Jared Ho about the FTC’s role in IoT and some guidelines to help your company navigate through the gray.

Jared is an attorney with the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the FTC. He previously served as a policy advisor with the Enforcement Bureau at the FCC and as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, where he led his office’s privacy and data security efforts.

Decoding the role of the FTC in IoT is not difficult; it comes down to two questions: Is what your company doing false or misleading? Deceptive or unfair? But as with many things, answers are contextual so the more difficult question to answer is, are your company’s actions reasonable? This gray zone is made murkier by the fact that IoT tech is relatively new, as a collative, so if you’re looking for clear and crisp answers, you are not going to find any. It also means that lawyers will continue to play an important role in the business of the Internet of Things for the foreseeable future.

Here’s What We’ll Cover in this Episode

  • Where IoT fits within the FTC’s broader consumer protection mission.
  • Section 5 under the FTC act that prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
  • The 2017 Vizio Smart TV case.
  • IoT’s issue of interfaces and disclosure – inconsistent and a patchwork at best.
  • Balancing the FTC’s guidance of taking minimal data with corporate goals of value creation and profitability.
  • How omission is seen by the FTC as deceptive.
  • The questions of reasonableness and intent.

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