Aug 1, 2017

The government wants to regulate "smart" device security

John Locher / AP

A bipartisan cybersecurity bill released today goes after large-scale breaches by imposing new security regulations on "smart" devices like fitness trackers or sensors.

Why it matters: The bill would impose "minimal cybersecurity operational standards" on devices purchased by federal agencies, in the hopes that the government's purchasing power will have a ripple effect and ensure higher standards of security across the board. President Trump's budget asks for $95 billion to spend on tech.

"It's a nifty way of making change in the world because it's not direct regulation. It's using the government's role as a consumer," says Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain, an expert consultant on the bill.

There's industry pushback on broad regulations, Sen. Mark Warner, who introduced the bill with Sen. Cory Gardner, told Axios. But "every one of these devices is a potential vulnerability."

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