Governor Signs Jackson Legislation to Require Smart Device Security

September 28, 2018

SACRAMENTO –Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation today by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to require manufacturers of internet connected consumer devices -- such as wireless routers, televisions, and mobile phones -- to equip these devices with reasonable security features, such as detecting potential hackers or the ability to change passwords.

SB 327 creates a common sense security requirement for internet connected devices that can evolve as technology evolves.  Mirroring a provision in California’s Data Breach Law, this bill requires manufacturers to equip consumer “smart” devices with reasonable security features appropriate to the nature of the device and the information it collects.  Equipped with reasonable security features, these devices will better protect sensitive consumer information – like location history and web browsing patterns – from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.

 “The lack of basic security features on internet connected devices undermines the privacy and security of California’s consumers, and allows hackers to turn everyday consumer electronics against us,” said Senator Jackson. “SB 327 ensures that technology serves the people of California, and that security is not an afterthought but rather a key component of the design process.”

Consumer devices that connect to the internet have moved well beyond the traditional desktop PC and now include a wide variety of consumer electronics, such as microwaves, refrigerators, and children’s toys.  While internet connectivity may increase the functionality of these products, many consumers are unaware or only vaguely aware of the security risks that come with using connected devices, leading them to unwittingly put sensitive information at risk.

An alarming number of internet connected devices lack even the most basic security features, rendering them vulnerable to hacking and coordinated cyberattacks. These attacks have been directed at critical infrastructure, such as the state’s 911 telephone system. SB 327 will protect consumers from these security risks by ensuring consumer protection is a key component of the design process and not an afterthought.

The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.