European Parliament resolution on the Internet of Things

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European Parliament, European Parliament resolution on the Internet of Things, 2009/2224(INI), 15.06.2010

Type Paper
Legal context EU
Topics Competition, Data Protection, Data Usability, Property, Security, Information Security, Technology, Cloud, Interoperability


"[T]he term ’Internet of Things’ refers to the general concept of objects (both electronic artefacts and objects in everyday use) that can be read, recognised, addressed, located and/or controlled remotely through the internet."

"[T]he internet of the future will go beyond the present traditional boundaries of the virtual world by being linked to the world of physical objects".

[T]he Internet of Things will permit the networking of billions of machines, which will be able to communicate and interact with one another via wireless technologies combined with logical and physical addressing protocols".

"[T]he expansion of the Internet of Things will enhance person-to-thing and thing-to-thing interaction, which can bring tremendous benefits for EU citizens if it respects security, data protection and privacy".

The Parliament " Endorses the Commission's focus on safety, security, the protection of personal data and privacy and governance of the Internet of Things, because respect for privacy and the protection of personal data, together with openness and interoperability, is the only way IoT will gain wider social acceptance".

The "protection of privacy constitutes a core value and that all users should have control over their personal data; calls therefore for the adaptation of the Data Protection Directive to the current digital environment".

"[S]ecurity and privacy issues should be addressed in the forthcoming standards, which must define different security features ensuring confidentiality, integrity or the availability of service".

"RFID technology and other IoT-related technologies for the intelligent labelling of products and consumer goods, and for things-to-person communication systems, can be used anywhere and in practice are quiet and unobtrusive". Therefore, such technology should be subject of "further, more detailed, assessments by the Commission, covering, in particular: [...] the right to ’chip silence’, which provides empowerment and user control; [...] developing an additional network structure and infrastructure for IoT applications and hardware; [...] the development of open technological standards and interoperability between different systems".

N.B. The Parliament "calls on the Commission to reflect on citizens’ right to choose non IoT-equipped products or to disconnect from their networked environment at any time". As A. Ottolia has said, it is more acceptable to have things whose condition of use is the provision of a related service, when the consumer has the possibility to choose an alternative thing, maybe less smart, but which can work without needing an accompanying service (see Call with A.O. (8 July 2015)).

The Parliament "(b)elieves that consumers should be given the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of the Internet of Things, including the ability to opt-out of individual IoT technologies without disabling other applications or a device as a whole".

The Parliament "[s]tresses the danger of legal uncertainty in the case of cloud computing".

N.B. The Parliament "[b]elieves in the importance of ensuring that all fundamental rights – not only privacy – are protected in the process of developing the Internet of Things".Among the fundamental rights, there is also the right to property (art. 17(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Right of the European Union).

"[T]he governance of the Internet of Things must keep ’red tape’ to a minimum and involve all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process, and calls therefore for proper and adequate regulation at EU level". For the meaning of the expression "red tape", see here.