Rebecca Wayman

Government reveals new laws to make country's tech safer for future generations

Digital minister Margot James has launched plans to ‘ensure’ millions of household items connected to the internet are better protected from cyber attacks.

This is set to include a new mandatory labelling scheme. The label would tell consumers how secure their products such as ‘smart’ TVs, toys and appliances are.

The move means that retailers will only be able to sell products with an Internet of Things (IoT) security label.

Digital minister, Margot James, said: “Many consumer products that are connected to the internet are often found to be insecure, putting consumers privacy and security at risk.

“Our Code of Practice was the first step towards making sure that products have security features built in from the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought.

“These new proposals will help to improve the safety of Internet connected devices and is another milestone in our bid to be a global leader in online safety.”

The consultation follows the government’s voluntary Secure by Design Code of Practice for consumer IoT security launched in 2018.

The Code advocates for stronger cyber security measures to be built into smart products right from the design stage, and has already been backed by Centrica Hive, HP Inc Geo and more recently Panasonic.

National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) technical director, Dr Ian Levy, added: “Serious security problems in consumer IoT devices, such as pre-set unchangeable passwords, continue to be discovered and it’s unacceptable that these are not being fixed by manufacturers.

“This innovative labelling scheme is good news for consumers, empowering them to make informed decisions about the technology they are bringing into their homes.”

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