Rosenworcel: FCC Should Flex IoT Device Security Muscle

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC needs to use its device authorization process to bake security into the new Internet of Things world. 

That came in testimony for a June 24 FCC oversight hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee. 

With the 5G revolution turning "every piece of machinery, pallet of equipment, thermostat, smoke detector, streetlight, garbage pail, parking meter" into a connected device, she signaled the FCC needed to get in front of the curve. 

She told the Hill that the FCC should revisit its "routine authorization process" for devices like computers and smart phones and see how it can be used to "encourage device manufacturers to build security into new products." 

"To do this," she told Congress, "we could build on the National Institutes of Standards and Technology draft set of security recommendations for devices in the internet of things. This effort specifies the cybersecurity features to include in network-capable devices, whether designed for the home, hospital, or factory floor. It covers everything from device identification, device configuration, data protection, access to interfaces, and critical software updates. In other words, it’s a great place to start—and we should do it now." 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.