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Today, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) released its Internet of Things Trust Framework, to address IoT privacy and security risks. The Framework provides guidelines for IoT manufacturers, developers and retailers to follow when designing, creating, adapting and marketing connected devices in two key categories: home automation, and consumer health and fitness wearables.

“The rapid growth of the Internet of Things now includes thousands of connected products, yet it’s shocking how little planning there has been for these devices becoming a part of everyday life,” said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director and President of the OTA, a non-profit group with a mission to enhance online trust.

The framework was created by the OTA IoT Working Group, which was established in January 2015 and presented initial findings at the TRUSTe IoT Privacy Summit in June. The working group is comprised of major companies including Microsoft, ADT, AVG Technologies, Symantec, Target and TRUSTe. This working group proposed best practices in order to protect consumer data, while requesting feedback from nearly 100 other organizations. The main focus was on safety and reliability of any IoT devices as well as an often overlooked component — sustainability.

“Sustainability—the life-cycle supportability of a device and the protection of the data after the warranty ends—is critical to the security, privacy and personal safety of users and businesses worldwide,” according to the OTA’s press release. “Without addressing sustainability, devices that may have been secure off the shelf will become more susceptible to hacking over time allowing hackers to remotely control these devices. This is a persistent concern, first demonstrated with baby monitors, just recently by infiltration of fitness wearables to spy on health vitals, and will likely be again soon, perhaps through general mayhem caused by sabotaging connected appliances.”

The OTA is seeking public and industry comment on this list of best practices from now until Sept. 14, 2015. To review the framework, provide feedback, or for information on joining the IoT Working Group, visit: https://otalliance.org/IoT.

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