Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Gabriela Mosquera, Joe Danielsen and Eric Houghtaling to establish protections for families who use baby monitors with an internet connection was signed into law on Thursday.
"In this age of technology, even baby monitors with the ability to connect to the internet can be dangerous for families to have in their homes," said Downey (D- Monmouth). "Baby monitors that broadcast live audio and video feeds over the internet can be viewed remotely by unknown persons on a computer, cellular telephone, tablet, or other internet-connected advice. This should be a cause for alarm for manufacturers and a reason to strengthen security protections for these devices."
The Office of Technology, Research and Investigation, in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), studied five baby monitors that broadcast live audio and video feeds over the internet and found that some of them have minimal security protections. Only one required a complex password while the others allowed users access with simple passwords, such as "password," making them vulnerable to hackers. Two of the five baby monitors the FTC studied did not encrypt the feed between the router and internet resulting in additional vulnerabilities.
The new law (A-3581) stipulates that no baby monitor that broadcasts audio or video online shall be sold, or offered for sale in New Jersey, unless it includes: (1) security features to prevent unauthorized users from hearing or viewing activity; and (2) a label or notice warning consumers of the risks associated with an unsecured baby monitor connection and the importance of accessing the baby monitor securely and using its security features.
"This is a good consumer protection measure," said Houghtaling (D- Monmouth). "Ensuring these devices are properly labeled will keep parents informed of the dangers of Wi-Fi enabled devices and aware of the steps which must be taken to protect their children and families from online predators."
The law stipulates that it is illegal under the consumer fraud act to sell, offer for sale any baby monitor without security features and a corresponding warning label.