Is YOUR refrigerator spying on you? Senate Committee Approves Bill Requiring Manufacturers To TELL Buyers If There Are Cameras And Microphones Inside Washing Machines Or Refrigerators
The United States is close to enacting laws clamping down on “spying devices” in the home, amid concerns that your refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine may be recording your movements.
Wi-Fi-enabled devices have been on the market for several years, with high-end products touting features like alerting you when a certain product is low on contents in your fridge or warning you when the cleaning products inside the device are running low.
However, two senators, Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and Maria Cantwell, a Democrat representing Washington state, have introduced a bill to force companies to state much more prominently that their products contain cameras.
“American consumers need to know when their everyday appliances and technology products have the ability to record them via microphones and cameras, let alone the ability to stream over Wi-Fi,” Cruz said.
“I am proud to help create this bipartisan solution to help safeguard the privacy and security of America’s homes.”
The LG LNXS30996D, part of the InstaView ThinQ range, is Wi-Fi enabled and contains cameras. Sells for $6,999
Ted Cruz on Wednesday oversaw the passage of his bill, Informing Consumers about the Smart Devices Act.
Cantwell agreed, saying many Americans didn’t realize how easy it was to be monitored through kitchen and household items.
“It is estimated that by 2026, more than 84 million homes will have smart devices, providing connection and control over everything from their air conditioner to their deep fryer,” he said.
“However, most consumers expect their refrigerators to keep their milk cold, not to record their most personal and private family conversations.
“I am happy to work with Senator Cruz on a bill that will ensure consumers know if their appliances are capable of invading their privacy.”
On Wednesday, the bill – the Smart Device Consumer Information Act – passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
It was approved by the House last month.
The bill now requires a full Senate vote and then be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator representing Washington, cosponsored the bill with Cruz.
Bosch’s 800-series dishwasher, on sale for $1,299, is internet-connected and features ‘remote monitoring and control’
This washer, the TurboWash 360°, which retails for $998 at Home Depot, boasts that: “Built-in intelligence eliminates guesswork, AI technology selects optimal wash motions and settings – washer can automatically select a compatible drying cycle”. It is run by an app, which ‘controls the laundry remotely’, while offering ‘proactive customer support’ which ‘sends maintenance tips and alerts’
Cruz and Cantwell’s bill would give the Federal Trade Commission the power to compel designers of Internet-connected devices to inform consumers if recording hardware is installed in smart devices.
It applies to smart appliances such as televisions, dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators, but not to mobile phones, laptops, or other devices for which the owner reasonably expects to see recording devices.
The bill comes amid heightened awareness of how our devices are monitoring our every move and frequently selling our data.