Today the European Commission is launching a public consultation on the safety of applications (apps) and other non-embedded software to determine whether the EU should take action to strengthen consumer protection in this area. The Commission wants to hear from all those who develop and use apps and software that are not embedded in a physical object at the time of their placement in the market. This is the case for apps that users download on their smartphones and which cover a wide range of areas (from counting the number of steps during a day, to helping find the cheapest flight online, to editing pictures and videos, and many more). For example, the Commission asks users if they have encountered any problems (e.g. the app has given users wrong information about their health), and if a solution was found. Commissioner Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Whenever a person downloads an app or software, they need to be sure that it won’t cause any damage, especially when it comes to health advice. I invite everyone to participate in this public consultation and share their experience to see how far the app sector takes care of consumers’ safety” (see also his blog post on e-health about trust and standards). The views of consumers, organisations, public bodies, and businesses across all sectors – from telecommunications to transport, from health to finance – will help to define any further action to be taken at EU level. This consultation looks into the safety of apps and other non-embedded software which is not already addressed and foreseen by the Medical Devices Directivesand the Radio Equipment Directivewhich include provisions on safety ensuring that equipment within their scope is safe. The consultation is open until 15 September. More details are available here.
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