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European Commission may regulate smart toys

The European Commission recently announced an Inception Impact Assessment aimed at informing citizens and stakeholders about its plans to consult on a draft regulation on internet-connected radio equipment and wearable radio equipment.

The European Commission has indicated that following the Norwegian Consumer Council’s review of smart toys in December 2016, the possible lack in the protection of children’s rights to privacy and security was identified in a number of smart toys which may record not only photographs, videos, geo-location data, data linked to play experience but also heart rate, sleeping habits or other biometrical data.

The ability of these products to record, store and share information has raised concerns about safety, security, privacy and social development. Furthermore smart wearable devices, which may allow children to connect to the Internet, can be equally privacy intrusive.

The European Commission’s initiative aims to tackle a number of concerns including hacking of such devices, advertising of products directly to children, lack of privacy by design and general cyber security concerns.

The consultation will look at the Radio Equipment Directive and the interrelationship between that and the General Data Protection Regulation and the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. It is expected that the consultation process will take place in the latter part of 2019.