The Internet of Things and Consumer Product Hazards [Docket No. CPSC-2018-0007]
May 2, 2018
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
Re: The Internet of Things and Consumer Product Hazards [Docket No. CPSC-2018-0007]
These comments are provided by The Toy Association on behalf of its members in response to the notice of public hearing and request for written comments published in the Federal Register on March 27,2018 seeking information on potential product safety hazards of internet connected consumer products. Please accept the following comments and we request to present them orally at the public hearing on May 16, 2018.
By way of background, The Toy AssociationTM, Inc. represents more than 1,100 businesses – toy manufacturers, importers and retailers, as well as toy inventors, designers and testing labs – _all involved in bringing safe, fun and educational toys and games for children to market. The U.S. toy industry contributes an annual positive economic impact of $109.2 billion to the U.S. economy. Since the 1930s, the association has been a leader in the development of toy safety standards, and toy safety has long been the top priority for our members. Our efforts include leading the development of the first comprehensive toy safety standard (later adopted as ASTM F963, which in 2008 became a mandatory consumer product safety rule under CPSIA). The industry continues to provide technical input and actively participate in the ongoing review of this "living" standard today, to keep pace with innovation and potential emerging issues. The Toy Association and its members work with government officials, consumer groups, and industry leaders on ongoing programs to ensure safe play.
Our members create not only toys that are safe to physically play with, but many members also create toys that allow kids to explore the online world safely. Protecting children and maintaining the trust of parents are the most vital concerns for the toy industry. As such, the toy industry recognizes that we must continue to address any issues that may arise from IoT technologies. Our members examine the physical safety of the internet-connected products they sell applying ASTM F963, and also focus on developing internet-connected toy experiences that protect the privacy of consumers and safeguard their personal data. The toy industry always prioritizes the safety of children and is committed to doing so with these products.
We applaud the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for being proactive and being willing to learn more about how internet-connected consumer products are developed and maintained. The technology in this space is ever evolving and learning about its impact to consumer safety is imperative. The goal of the May 16 hearing is to focus on identifying potential product safety hazards that could present themselves with internet connected products, and not on data and privacy security concerns. Data privacy and security issues are within the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as it has the historical knowledge and expertise to regulate and enforce data and security breaches. In particular, internet-connected children’s toys are subject to strict requirements under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which the FTC enforces. Closely collaborating with the FTC, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and other government agencies is key to developing smart policies around connected consumer products. Each agency has a unique role to play and we encourage CPSC coordinate with these groups to avoid regulatory duplication.
Due to the extensive scope of product safety regulations governing toys, and the features of toys themselves, we have not identified potential product safety hazards that are not already addressed by ASTM F-963 that could be uniquely presented by an internet-connected toy. Toys are currently required to be tested extensively to avoid some of the hazards mentioned in the Federal Register notice, i.e. shock, laceration, fire and chemical exposure. The toy standard, ASTM F963, for example, requires that batteries must be extensively tested so that they do not over heat, even when they remain plugged in for over 336 hours1. This is but one example of the extensive testing required for just batteries in the toy standard. The standard outlines many other testing requirements.
Even though we do not feel toys present a consumer product safety danger when connected to the internet, we do wish to support CPSC in the efforts to begin the dialogue to determine the potential for possible future product safety hazards. However, we believe that other product categories may be better candidates for initial review so that other product sectors, like toys, can apply learnings from these groups.
The toy industry remains deeply committed to supporting sound technical and policy practices and solutions to tackle potential safety hazards. We look forward to being a productive part of this discussion during the hearing and wish to be a resource for CPSC on these and other toy-related issues going forward.
Thank you again for holding this important hearing. If you would like to follow up with us contact Ed Desmond at email@example.com in our Washington, DC office.
President & CEO
The Toy Association
1 Section 8.19.2 of the Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, ASTM F963-17.