Reps request report on FCC oversight of wireless devices

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In a letter sent to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Aug. 15, Reps. Anna G. Eschoo (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), both senior members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, requested a report on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) oversight of wireless medical devices.

Noting a recent news story about a computer analyst who managed to hack his own insulin pump, the representatives requested that the GAO examine whether the FCC is identifying challenges and risks posed by new medical devices and implants that utilize wireless technology.

“With respect to wireless enabled medical devices, the FCC is responsible for governing radio devices so as to provide for effective operation and communication, including allocating spectrum and specifying technical requirements to avoid harmful interference between users,” wrote Eschoo and Markey. “The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health and assuring safety and effectiveness by regulating medical devices.”

In the letter addressed to Gene L. Dodaro, head of GAO and comptroller general of the U.S., they request that the organization report on how the FCC is:

  • Identifying the challenges and risks posed by the proliferation of medical implants and other devices that make use of broadband wireless technology.
  • Taking steps to improve the efficiency of the regulatory processes applicable to broadband and wireless enabled medical devices.
  • Ensuring wireless enabled medical devices will not cause harmful interference to other equipment.
  • Overseeing such devices to ensure they are safe, reliable and secure.
  • Coordinating its activities with the FDA.

The letter can be found here.