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The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of connected devices that talk directly to each other without needing to interact with human beings.

Many devices are controlled via software on another device, such as a smartphone. Some devices, such as smart home systems, can be used to control multiple other devices. This enables devices to operate together, for example lightbulbs may be switched on when a sensor detects movement.

Examples of possible uses of IoT devices are numerous and encompass a vast range of sectors. Some of these technologies already exist or are in development, some are not. Examples suggested to date include smart energy meters, wearable health sensors, driverless cars, smart bins that send warnings when they are full, and smart fridges that can tell you how much food you have left or even order replacement items when you run out.

More information is available in the POSTnote on Cyber security for consumer devices. More information about 5G is available in the Library briefing paper on 5G.

In May 2019, the Government released a consultation on regulatory proposals on consumer IoT security. The consultation said the Government wanted to better protect homes and the wider economy from the risks of a lack of cyber security provisions in consumer IoT devices. 

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