A lot of products these days come with built-in microphones and cameras, and to help make it more obvious about what consumers are buying, Senator Cory Gardner has proposed a bill dubbed Protecting Privacy in our Homes Act, in which if successfully passed, would make it mandatory for companies to label all products that come with microphones and cameras in them.
This is similar to how the FDA requires food producers to label foods that might contain allergens such as peanuts. According to Gardner, “Consumers face a number of challenges when it comes to their privacy, but they shouldn’t have a challenge figuring out if a device they buy has a camera or microphone embedded into it.”
He adds, “This legislation is about consumer information, consumer empowerment, and making sure we’re doing everything we can to protect consumer privacy.” That being said, it does feel a bit redundant as most people who buy speakers or security cameras probably know that they do come with microphones and/or cameras.
However, some of you might recall that earlier this year, there was an incident where a secret hidden microphone was discovered inside the Nest Secure device. Google claimed that this was not meant to be a secret and that it was an error that it was not listed under its tech specs.