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Reach of the Internet to be investigated

An investigation into the control of data on the Internet is to be extended to see just how far reaching it is and how far reaching it is set to become.

The European Commission has claimed that the average resident throughout its 27 member states will already own a minimum of two internet connected devices – most likely a computer and a smartphone or tablet.

By 2015, it expects this figure to rise to seven, whilst by 2020 the explosion of household appliances which are connected could take the total number to double figures.

The commission is already in the midst of consulting the public over how information on the Internet should be harvested, stored and used.

It wants to “ensure the rights of individuals” and maintain respect of collected data. Anyone with views on the subject is invited to send these in by 12th July.

It is thought that so widespread could wireless devices connected to the net become, it could impede on the privacy of, and even endanger, personal life.

Historically, the commission has lagged behind technological advancements.

A recent example of this is the introduction of the EU’s Privacy and Data Communications Directive on 26th May this year. The directive requires permission to be granted before cookies are installed on a user’s browser, a practice which has gone on since the mid-1990s.

By starting this consultation now, it is hoped that a new directive could come into place before the so called “internet of things” becomes common place.

The results of the consultation, along with any recommendations, are expected to be announced by the commission in mid-2013.

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