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September 10, 2016

EC nearing end of public consultation on safety of apps

The European Commission is nearing the end of its public consultation on the subject of the safety of apps and other non-embedded software. The Commission wanted stakeholders’ views to ensure a high level of health, safety and consumer protection for Europeans in the digital area. The public consultation will end 15 September.

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The consultation concerns software and apps which are neither embedded, nor contained in a tangible medium at the time of their placement in the market, their supply to consumers or when they are otherwise made available to consumers (non-embedded software), the Commission stated last June – the consultation started 9 June.

Examples include health and well-being apps that can be used on a mobile device, but also digital models for 3D printing or apps controlling other devices (such as electronic appliances). The views gathered will help the EC to define potential next steps and future policies at the EU level. These include, if appropriate, possible revisions of existing horizontal and/or sector-specific EU legislation.

This consultation looks only into the safety of apps and other non-embedded software which is not already addressed and foreseen by sector-specific legislation such as the Medical Devices Directives or the Radio Equipment Directive which include provisions on safety ensuring that equipment within their scope, if compliant, is safe.

Safety and safe use should be understood as freedom from unacceptable danger, risk or harm, including security-vulnerabilities and cover physical, economic as well as moral aspects. The consultation does not prejudge any future decision on whether or not to propose legislation in this field and any new initiative will be subject to a more in-depth consultation process and political validation.

Stakeholder includer consumers, businesses and authorities, on their experience related to the safety of apps and other non-embedded software. The questions aim at obtaining a better understanding of the possible risks and problems that non-embedded software may pose and how these problems could be dealt with.

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