Gov. Cuomo proposes legislation for better disclosure of smart device recording capabilities

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday announced a proposal to require companies to prominently disclose information about devices that can record, store, and transmit recordings, like smartphones, smart speakers, and smart TVs.

The Governor will reportedly propose legislation requiring the disclosure so that New Yorkers can make informed decisions when they choose to buy an internet-connected device that is capable of recording, and so that written warnings about recording are not hidden or written in small print. The bill would make it so that smart devices disclose that they are recording their owners before a device is set up, so that owners can change their settings as needed.

“We’ve all heard reports of smart speakers and other connected devices recording people without their knowledge, and that possibility raises important questions about privacy for the future,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation requires the makers of these devices to disclose the facts so New Yorkers can make informed decisions about the capabilities of what they buy. Everyone has a right to know the facts about the devices they buy, and those facts should be prominently displayed, not hidden in the fine print.”

Over 80% of Americans reportedly own a smartphone or other digital device, the vast majority of which are said to be equipped with internal microphones or other audio recording capabilities. A 2019 Pew Research survey found that other than smartphones, a quarter of U.S. adults also have voice-controlled smart speakers in their phones.

Fifty-four percent of smart speaker owners reportedly express worry about how much of their personal audio information is collected and 66% reject better personalization of smart speaker recommendations if it means more of their personal data is collected. 

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