The Federal Trade Commission has released a Staff Report addressing the “Internet of Things” – a phrase referring to everyday items that are able to connect to the internet and transmit data.  The Internet of Things includes over 25 billion connected devices worldwide, including fitness trackers, connected appliances, and more.  Estimates are that by 2020, between 50 and 75 billion connected devices will exist.

The Report is based on a November 2013 workshop that included industry participants and experts, and it includes staff recommendations about legislative and regulatory responses to the Internet of Things.

The Report highlights privacy and security concerns raised by connected devices, and recommends that businesses take steps to increase the security of their systems, minimize data collection, and increase transparency regarding data collection and use with consumers.

Businesses involved with the Internet of Things, including security, automation, communication, and entertainment companies, are encouraged to adopt strong privacy and security measures.  As a first step, companies in these industries should review the FTC’s concurrently released publication “Careful Connections: Building Security in the Internet of Things,” which advises companies to adopt security practices, such as encryption and authentication.