Internet of Things


We focus technical and policy foundations for Internet of Things in the home. The Internet of Things has brought a wave of new devices into our homes that are always connected. Most consumers are unaware that these devices are constantly collecting, storing, or disclosing their personal information. Bringing these connected devices into the home particularly raises important issues of privacy and security.


Emily McReynolds

Tech Policy Lab – University of Washington

Tadayoshi Kohno

Computer Science & Engineering – University of Washington

Franziska Roesner

Computer Science & Engineering – University of Washington

Tamara Denning

School of Computing – University of Utah


What Pushes Back from Considering Materiality in IT?

There are significant negative impacts from extracting, processing, maintaining, and ultimately disposing of the materials used to support information technology, as well as of producing the energy it uses, yet these negative impacts receive substantially less attention than discussion of the benefits or technical aspects of IT. This essay examines those negative impacts, the forces that push towards minimizing those impacts, and what can be done to counter these forces.
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Toys That Listen

Hello Barbie, Amazon Echo, and the home robot Jibo are part of a new wave of connected toys and gadgets for the home that listen. Different than the smartphone, these devices are always on, blending into the background until needed by the adult or child user. We do not yet know all the information our new toys are collecting, storing, or disclosing. With an intended audience of designers and regulators, this project brings an interdisciplinary group of experts together to build a set of consumer protection best practices for design and user control of connected devices in the home.
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Tech Policy Lab Co-Directors quoted in FTC Report on the Internet of Things

In 2013 the FTC hosted a workshop on The Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World where Lab Faculty Directors Ryan Calo and Yoshi Kohno participated in panels. The below report includes Co-Director Kohno’s recommendation that security should be designed into every IoT product, at every stage of development, including early on in the design cycle of a technology.

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Kids & The Connected Home

CSM Passcode, the Future of Privacy Forum, and Family Online Safety Institute co-host a discussion on kids, connected toys and devices, and privacy. 

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Computer Security and the Internet of Things

Computers are now integrating into everyday objects, from medical devices to children’s toys. This integration of technology brings many benefits. Without the appropriate checks and balances, however, these emerging technologies also have the potential to compromise our digital and physical security and privacy. Tech Policy Lab Faculty Co-Director Kohno’s talk explored case studies in the design and analysis of computer systems for several types of everyday objects, including wireless medical devices, children’s toys, and automobiles.


FTC Start with Security Conference

The Lab co-sponsored the FTC Start with Security Conference which is an initiative to provide companies with practical tips and strategies for implementing effective data security.
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Workshop on Usable Privacy & Security for Wearable and Domestic Ubiquitous Devices (UPSIDE)

The UPSIDE workshop is an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to discuss research challenges and experiences around the usable privacy and security of wearable devices and other consumer sensors and domestic devices (e.g., home automation systems; smart appliances in the home; smart meters; domestic healthcare devices).
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FTC “Internet of Things” Workshop

The FTC held a workshop in Washington, DC, to explore consumer privacy and security issues posed by the growing connectivity of devices with the input of academics, business and industry representatives, and consumer advocacy groups.
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