California Cybersecurity Bills Leave Gaping Loophole

 

Sacramento, Calif. (August 28, 2018) — The California Legislature is considering a new law on cybersecurity that overlooks the products that are most vulnerable to a security breach.

Both the California Senate and Assembly could take up the bills, SB327 and AB1906, this week before they adjourn. The bills would require some connected products to have security features, but do not require the same security measures for products that are “a contract only to purchase a connected device, or only to purchase and brand a connected device.” This means products that can be purchased off the shelf in Asia and imported for sale in California will not be required to incorporate the security features.

“Home appliance manufacturers want the entire home and Internet of Things environment to be secure because that system is only as secure as its weakest link,” said Kevin Messner, AHAM’s senior vice president of policy and government relations. “It is befuddling why, on the cusp of the new privacy law, the California legislature would consider yet another rushed bill that creates a gaping loophole for manufacturers to simply import products from outside of the state.”

An analysis by the Governor’s Department of Finance stated that the legislation “places California internet connected device manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage while providing the means for non-compliant devices to enter California’s marketplace.”

Cybersecurity is best achieved through national consensus standards. The bills fail to define a “reasonable security feature” and leave manufacturers vulnerable to the California Attorney General’s interpretation of “reasonable,” which could come years after a product is designed, manufactured and sold.

AHAM has presented amendments and a proposal that would strengthen these bills and close loopholes, including the use of national consensus standards.

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The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is the trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances and suppliers to the industry. AHAM is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and maintains an office in Ottawa. AHAM is the single voice providing the home appliance industry and its customers leadership, advocacy and a forum for action — developing and implementing credible solutions for public policy, standards and business decisions. You can visit AHAM’s web sites at http://www.aham.org