On Wednesday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz (TX) introduced a bill aimed at protecting consumers’ privacy in regards to products that have audio or visual recording.
The Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act will require the FTC to create reasonable disclosure guidelines for products that have audio or visual recording components, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and dishwashers that are not clearly obvious. Many consumers don’t realize the growing number of household devices and appliances include cameras and/or microphones that are capable of recording them and also include Wi-Fi capability to transmit data without their knowledge,” a press release from Cruz’s office explained.
Cruz was joined by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in introducing the bill, who said, “By 2026, it’s estimated that over 84 million households will have smart devices – providing connection and control over everything from your air conditioning to your air fryer. Yet, most consumers expect their refrigerators to keep the milk cold, not come equipped with a camera or microphone to record their personal and private family discussions. I’m happy to work with Senator Cruz on a bill that will ensure consumers know whether their household appliances are capable of invading their privacy.”
Cruz said of the bill, “As the number of smart devices found in homes steadily climbs, consumers deserve greater transparency about how these devices work and how they impact privacy. Americans should know if the fridge is recording their families’ words and movements and they should know whether their virtual assistant is transmitting audio recordings of private family conversations. I am pleased to have introduced this legislation with Senator Cantwell to ensure the privacy and security of American households remains intact.”