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Updates are a huge issue for smart gadgets, but this law might help

Tired of non-existent updates and poor password hygiene on your smart TV or baby monitor? So is the UK government.

Published onApril 30, 2024

Security Update Available
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The UK has introduced a new set of requirements for connected gadgets.
  • The regulations will force manufacturers and retailers to disclose software update support periods for their products.
  • Manufacturers will also need to implement strong passwords and make it easier for people to report security issues.

One of the most important things about buying a smart gadget is the commitment to software updates, but manufacturers often don’t disclose their update policies. Fortunately, it turns out that the UK is taking action against this and several other issues.

The UK has introduced a new set of minimum requirements for internet-connected gadgets, dubbed the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act (h/t: BBC). This act applies to connected devices like smart TVs, home appliances, routers, smartphones, and more.

The most prominent requirement is that retailers and manufacturers will need to inform users of how long they’ll receive support, including software updates, for products they wish to buy. This should be a big help for consumers when it comes to products like TVs, smart displays, and other categories that have seen manufacturers largely keep mum on updates.

What else to know about the new law?

This isn’t the only requirement, as the act also calls on more secure password procedures. More specifically, manufacturers can’t leave default passwords blank and can’t use easy-to-guess passwords. Furthermore, the act also mandates that manufacturers offer more clarity on how to report bugs and other security problems.

Any companies breaching these requirements would face fines, including penalties of up to £20,000 (~$25,073) for each day the breach continues.

We hope similar legislation comes to other countries, as opaque/non-existent update policies and poor password hygiene are two major problems in the connected gadget space. Problems like these are why there’s been no shortage of stories about connected products being hacked, such as security cameras, routers, baby monitors, and even smart ovens.

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