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EU Investigates Internet’s Spread to More Devices

BBC News (04/12/12)

The European Commission (EC) expects rapid growth in the number of household appliances and other devices that are connected to the Internet by 2020, and as a result is launching a consultation over controls for the way information is gathered, stored, and processed.  The typical person currently has at least two devices connected to the Internet.  However, by 2015 that number is expected to grow to seven Web-connected devices per person, for a total of 25 billion worldwide, and more than 50 billion by 2020.  The EC notes that previous technological advances have led to new legislation, such as the European Union’s (EU’s) Privacy and Data Communications Directive, which requires users to give permission for Web sites to install tracking cookies into their browsers.  “Technologies like these need to be carefully designed if they are to enhance our private lives, not endanger them,” says EU representative Emma Draper.  “Sharing highly sensitive personal data–like medical information–to a network of wireless devices automatically creates certain risks and vulnerabilities, so security and privacy need to be built in at the earliest stages of the development process.”

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