POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

New bill from Rep. John Curtis takes aim at devices that can record unknowing consumers

Aug 9, 2022, 8:45 AM | Updated: 9:18 am
Rep. John Curtis is pictured. He sponsored the Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act...
Rep. John Curtis talks in the Deseret News and KSL newsroom in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill moving through Congress will force companies to inform you when their devices could record you. The bill will not restrict what companies can do, it’ll only require them to inform consumers about recording capabilities.

The Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act, H.R.4081, focuses on devices that consumers may not realize could record them. With growing abilities to control “smart” devices with your voice or from your phone, many people don’t realize that often means the device is capable of recording you.

The bill will require companies to disclose whether their devices can record audio and/or video. The bill focuses on devices that can connect to the internet and have a mic or camera. 

It will not affect technology you already expect to record you though, such as phones, laptops or tablets.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts).

“This common sense and bipartisan bill ensures consumers are aware of the recording capabilities of items they are putting in their homes, while also balancing flexibility for companies who are developing smart technologies,” said Curtis in a press release about the bill.

According to that press release, the bill would require the Federal Trade Commission and industry leaders to create guidelines. The guidelines will apply to devices with recording capabilities “where this is not clearly the item’s intent.”

The Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act passed unanimously through the Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee in July and will likely hit the House floor in September.

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