Can the U.S. Senate secure the Internet of Things?


As a free and open internet continues to come under assault by the FCC’s proposal to effectively end net neutrality, investors, programmers, and internet users of all stripes have vociferously voiced their support of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the open web that enables it. It appears those voices have been heard, as the U.S. Senate may be taking steps to secure the IoT’s future.

So, what exactly is the U.S. Senate up to, and how might its actions impact the health of the IoT? What are the specifics of the bill in question, and how might its text impact American’s everyday lives as they make use of the IoT?

A hopeful IoT security bill

A new bipartisan bill published Tuesday by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017, hopes to beef up America’s internet security. The bill highlights the enormous complexity of the IoT and the huge benefits it provides to the American economy, but it also notes the fragility and vulnerability of the system to outside attacks.

The crux of the bill is that it will force companies which sell web-connected devices to the U.S. government to do more to ensure the cybersecurity of said devices. Vendors to the government must ensure that whatever gadgets they sell to Uncle Sam are patchable, don’t contain vulnerabilities, and don’t contain hard-coded passwords, amongst other measures.

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