The EU launches ‘sector inquiry’ into the Internet of Things

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The European Union loves antitrust inquiries and so it’s launching one into the entire consumer Internet of Things (IoT) sector.

EU lawmakers are concerned about the huge amounts of data being collected about consumers through IoT devices.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said:

“Voice assistants and smart devices can collect a vast amount of data about our habits. And there’s a risk that big companies could misuse the data collected through such devices, to cement their position in the market against the challenges of competition.”

Around 400 questionnaires are being sent to companies operating in the IoT space around Europe, the US, and Asia, to gain intel for a public consultation set for early next year and a preliminary report to be published around the same time.

Questions will include what products the companies sell, how data is collected, used, and how money is made from that information.

While the EU is often accused of being overly heavy-handed in regulation – especially in data-heavy areas like AI, making it more difficult for European companies to compete globally – their concerns about the data being collected by IoT devices isn’t entirely unfounded.

“They might even use their knowledge of how we access other services to enter the market for those services and take it over. We have seen this type of conduct before. This is not new.

So we know there’s a risk that some of these players could become gatekeepers of the Internet of Things, with the power to make or break other companies.”

In Europe, the total number of smart home devices was around 108 million at the end of 2019 and is forecast to reach 184 million devices by 2023. The value of the smart home market is expected to almost double in the next four years to more than 27 billion Euros.

(Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash)

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One comment on “The EU launches ‘sector inquiry’ into the Internet of Things

  1. Dr. Raymond Winter on

    All Services/App providers should be made to place the following option on sign-up: Are you willing to allow us to capture data from your use of the Service/App? click Yes or No.

    If NO is selected the Service or App supplier must legally NOT collect any data from the person using their service/App.

    Currently users cannot easily stop the collection of their data, which is a gross violation of their right to privacy and are then bombarded with Ads and especially emails from all sorts of companies, which requires a great deal of time wiping them from our access devices .

    A further area that needs cleaning-up concerns the delivery of emails and Ads to businesses which costs the company a great deal of unproductive time and cost because employees are either spending time reading them or erasing them.


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