Crowley Introduces Legislation to Protect Families from Burglary, Kidnapping, Stalking Dangers Posed by Wireless Baby Monitors

Dec 1, 2010

Washington, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) introduced legislation to address dangers posed by manyvideo and audio baby monitors. Crowley’s legislation (H.R. 6463) would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require clear and prominent labeling on the packaging of wireless baby monitors to warn parents that the signals being used to transmit video and/or audio of their child may be easily intercepted by potential intruders.

“Parents purchase baby monitors to protect and secure their children – not to open their homes to the eyes of anyone who seeks to look inside,” said Congressman Crowley. “The risks posed by these monitors go farbeyond an invasion of privacy – they are putting the safety of our children and homes at risk. Parents deserve to know about the dangers posed by the very devices they purchase to keep their families safe.”

Recent media reports have shown how easy it is for potential intruders and kidnappers to watch and listen to what goes on in a home by using an inexpensive, easily-attainable monitor tuned to the same channel as a working baby monitor. This threat extends beyond a possible invasion of privacy – it opens American homes to kidnapping, burglary and other crimes.

By purchasing certain types of wireless baby video monitors and intercepting signals, outsiders waiting hundreds of feet from a home or canvassing a neighborhood can quickly and easily see the same image of a young child or an entire room seen by parents inside the home. Potential intruders could also identify whether the parents or children are home at all, helping create conditions for burglary – a serious concern for the upcoming holiday season when many families travel. Even worse, a potential kidnapper or abuser could easily identify the location of a child within the home and the easiest point of entry to abduct or cause harm to the child.  The ‘Keeping Kids Safe Act’ would require warning labels for monitors that transmit both video and audio as well as monitors that only transmit audio, alerting parents to the possibility that interception of the transmission is possible.   

“It comes down to making sure parents are aware of the potential dangers that come with these monitors,” said Crowley. “A clear warning on the monitors will help arm parents with the information they need to make the best decision for their family.”   

Congressman Crowley is the six-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as a member of the exclusive House Committee on Ways & Means and Committee on Foreign Affairs.