UK MPs to probe connected tech
May 12, 2022
By Colin Mann
The UK House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is to examine the impacts of the increasing prevalence of smart and connected technology and what needs to be done to ensure it is safe and secure for its users.
The ‘Connected tech: smart or sinister?’ inquiry will explore how devices including smart speakers, virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri and wearable tech such as Fitbits, are reshaping life in homes and workplaces and across towns and cities.
Cited benefits of connected tech include helping people manage their time, multi-task, reduce screen time and improve accessibility to services and standards of living. There are however also concerns that devices linked to the internet could lead people to access harmful content, be open to hacking and infringe on privacy and data protection rights.
The Committee will look into both the benefits and threats of the technology, as well as its impact on specific groups of society, how safe and secure design can be incentivised and whether existing legislation is sufficient to cope with its expansion.
“The innocent little box sitting inconspicuously in the corner of the room would seem to offer the ultimate in convenience, magically serving up information on demand, turning on lights or delivering a vast array of music,” notes DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP. “With such a smart set-up connected to the outside world however there is always the danger it will have a more sinister side, with users potentially sacrificing privacy, put at risk of cybercrime, or left open to uncovering harmful content online.”
“Our inquiry will examine the risks and rewards from the rising popularity of connected tech in the home and beyond, whether it should be properly designed to protect everyone in society and to what extent the current rules governing smart technology are fit for a rapidly changing future.”