California is once again poised to take the lead on important new technology policy.
A bill to set cybersecurity standards for Web-connected devices — from thermostats to webcams to cars — is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) signature after cruising through the state legislature late last month. If Brown signs it, California would become the first state to pass legislation to govern security of the Internet of Things, which experts say is crucial as these products proliferate and malicious hackers find new ways to exploit them.
Yet cybersecurity researchers are split on the bill, and some argue it fails to address the core issues that make connected devices vulnerable to hacks. But it could lay the groundwork for stronger IoT cybersecurity legislation at both the state and federal level. California’s bill, if signed by Brown, could rekindle the national discussion in a similar way to how landmark privacy law the state recently approved helped spur high-level talks between the Commerce Department and tech giants about federal privacy regulations.