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The Internet of Things: A brave new world for consumers?

28 November 2017
by anec -- last modified 28 November 2017

Four global and European consumer organisations today presented their recommendations to make consumer rights, privacy and security core features of the Internet of Things. The consumer organisations recognise the benefits of IoT applications but urge developers, manufacturers, policy-makers and regulators to deal with numerous challenges and risks.


According to estimates there will be 75 billion connected devices in 2025. Connected devices have huge potential, for instance by making services more convenient, fixing products remotely and putting more responsive products on the market. However, they also carry risks such as 24/7 surveillance of citizens, complex liability questions when a self-driving car causes an accident and risks of remote control (electricity cut-off from a distance).

Stephen Russell, Secretary-General of ANEC, The European Consumer Voice in Standardisation:

"The current product safety legislation and standards cover the safety of individual devices and hence may not be fit to protect consumers in the Internet of Things environment where devices are part of a bigger system. ANEC believes additional provisions and standards will need to be adopted to ensure the safety of the system as a whole."

Monique Goyens, Director-General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC):

"Self-driving cars and the possibility to remotely pre-heat our homes are just some of many examples the Internet of Things may benefit consumers. But these advantages come with a catch. Policy-makers and producers need to make sure possible downsides such as surveillance though mass data collection and safety risks do not overshadow the opportunities of IoT."

Amanda Long, Director General of Consumers International:

"Consumers need for security, proper support and privacy should be front and centre of IoT product development - not bolted on as an afterthought. We must work together with manufacturers, policy-makers and regulators to create a network that is safer and fairer for everyone."

Guido Adriaenssens, CEO of International Consumer Research and Testing:

"The Principles document reflects the aspects ICRT will be testing when dealing with smart appliances. The document is not only a good guide for our comparative testing, but also an excellent road map for manufacturers as it is very clear now what we as consumers expect from smart appliances."

ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, defending the collective consumer interests in the processes of technical standardisation, conformity assessment, accreditation and market surveillance as well as related legislation and public policies.

ANEC - the European consumer voice in standardisation

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ANEC acts as the voice of the European consumer in the development of European legislation related to consumer products and services, and in the elaboration of European technical standards intended to support the implementation of that legislation.

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