Cars, clothes, thermostats, medical devices, even our pets — all of the things we interact with each day are increasingly connected to one another, allowing the exchange of real-time information and enabling machines to predict what we’ll need next.
FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen and Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined experts March 25 at the Washington Post to discuss how the fast evolving Internet of Things is altering our daily lives. Follow below for the latest updates.
Live stream viewers, thank you so much for watching. We’ll have video highlights posted here shortly. Continue the conversation on Twitter with #FutureOfThings.
Post Live editor Mary Jordan and FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen joined Jules Polonetsky, executive director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, and Michael Sutton, Zscaler’s vice president of security research, on stage.
Polonetsky noted the existence of something he called the theory of creepy. “Somebody’s ‘creepy’ is somebody’s ‘cool’ gadget,” Polonetsky said, citing devices from history like Caller ID that were once also thought of as creepy. There’s a clear need to balance security and privacy, he said, tasking app and technology developers to consider consumer privacy when developing.
“We will never be able to keep up with technology,” Sutton said on current and future legislation and regulation. He said the hardware industry should look to the software industry for security, in an Internet of Things age.
Up next, Post editor Mary Jordan talks to FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen.
Ohlhausen was sworn in as a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission on April 4, 2012, to a term that expires in September 2018. She participated in an FTC Internet of Things workshop in November 2013. Read her remarks here.
Prior to joining the comission, Ohlhausen was a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, where she focused on FTC issues, including privacy, data protection and cybersecurity. She also previously served at the FTC for 11 years.
Ohlahausen said she likes to practice something she’s termed “regulatory humility.”
“When we face new technology, new challenges, we as regulators try to educate ourselves,” she said. “So we know, how do we have more knowledge before we act.”
NSA revelations from Edward Snowden have made people more sensitive to privacy and issues that the FTC follows, the commissioner said.
Ohlahausen said she also fears that one bad incident by device manufacturers early on in development can reap huge regulatory reaction.
“I really encourage businesses to pay close attention to these issues,” she said. “[The Internet of Things] has great benefits. But if you mess it up early on, there’ll be great consequences.”
— Washington Post Live (@postlive) March 25, 2014