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British lawmakers set new rules for smart devices sold in country

Smart devices like Amazon's line of voice-activated speakers will have to adhere to new rules meant to increase security.

Smart devices like Amazon's line of voice-activated speakers will have to adhere to new rules meant to increase security.

The Amazon Pop, a smart speaker powered by the voice assistant Alexa. (Courtesy photo)
The Amazon Pop, a smart speaker powered by the voice assistant Alexa. (Courtesy photo)

Electronics makers will have to adhere to a new set of strict rules if they want to sell their devices to consumers in the United Kingdom.

The rules, set to take effect in the spring, will require electronics makers to implement stronger password protection procedures and provide consumers with specific information about support and warranties, among other things.

Smart devices sold in the United Kingdom won’t be allowed to have blank or easy-to-guess default passwords, and manufacturers will be required to ensure customers set strong passwords that are difficult to guess or crack.

Manufacturers will also have to provide a way for consumers to report bugs and other technical and security issues associated with their devices, and must inform consumers about how long they will receive software updates and technical support after activating their gadget.

The procedures are part of a new law called the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI), which aims to reduce the likelihood of consumer-related technical and security issues by putting the responsibility of implementing preventative measures on the manufacturers themselves.

The law is intended to provide consumers piece of mind that the devices they purchase are reliable from both functionality and security standpoints. Lawmakers specifically had wireless routers in mind when they crafted the measure, but it will equally apply to smart devices like speakers, electronic plugs, smart TV sets and streaming-related hardware.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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