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European Commission gets interested in the Internet of Things

Aims to curb potential abuse
Thu Apr 12 2012, 16:14

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION wants to know what the benefits of having an 'Internet of Things' are and whether it needs to put legal and ethical frameworks in place to curb potential abuses.

The European Commission has been banging on about the Internet of Things for a number of years, funding numerous research projects that claim to work on what has become one of the biggest buzzwords in networking. Now the commission wants to know what the economic and societal benefits are of having an Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things is a term coined to refer to the use of sensors in everyday objects in order to track them. The commission wants to find out how to limit the amount of information these sensors collect while providing monetary and environmental benefits to Europeans.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission VP for the Digital Agenda said, "An Internet of Things with intelligence embedded into everyday objects is the next big thing. I want to promote an Internet of Things that serves our economic and societal goals, whilst preserving security, privacy and the respect of ethical values."

The European Commission wants to find out whether there is enough of a business case for a single firm to exploit the market. In the commission's statement of intent it said it wants to find out about privacy, security and safety and whether societial acceptance requires ethical and legal frameworks to be put into place.

The commission is right in treating the Internet of Things seriously. While the term might be something of a marketer's delight, the underlying principles behind it are extremely powerful and could generate a lot of money for private companies, which typically means that users' and public interests are sacrificed on the altar of profits. µ


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