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E-rights are new and fundamental rights

In light of the repeal of the EU-US privacy shield and the Schrems II ruling, the European Data Protection Board  (EDPB) published its Recommendations for companies. APPLiA's feedback.

In light of the repeal of the EU-US privacy shield and the Schrems II ruling, the European Data Protection Board  (EDPB) published its Recommendations for companies. “While the EU digital ecosystem is quickly taking shape” commented Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA’s Director General, “issues such as the right to data privacy and the respect of the GDPR rules are leading principles to bear in mind.” In this context, the current Recommendations could negatively impact open digital ecosystems and, concerning connected home appliances, their functionality.

Encryption is seen as a way to ensure privacy, meaning that messages or files are encoded so that they can only be read by certain people or systems. However, some types of encryption could disrupt devices’ processes, by blocking the flow of data and thus preventing the process from taking place. That could be the case for connected appliances, which often rely on interoperability with third parties to produce certain functions. A command to a connected oven, for instance, often travels through a complex digital ecosystem to produce a certain function. With encryption in place, this flow might not work as explained, potentially rendering the “connected” functionality of the product redundant.

The encryption issue poses also a critical (or perhaps impossible) challenge for European manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to encrypt their data to such a degree that it is beyond the decrypting capabilities of a third-party government. Such operations would in fact go beyond the technical and financial capacity of most SMEs. In such a way, the EU’s objective of making the digital transition inclusive for EU citizens and workers would not be achieved.

“The home appliance sector is a driver of digital innovation and works to bring the benefits of digitalisation to citizens’ hands, inside their home.” added Mr Falcioni. “In doing so, appliance manufacturers value the consumer’s right to privacy, and ensure they are aligned with GDPR commitments.” The safeguard of data privacy in data transfers and state-of-the-art cybersecurity have top priority for the home appliance industry. For this reason, manufacturers should be trusted to ensure which types of additional measures are appropriate for the needs of their data transfers, based on a case-by-case analysis, taking into account the nature of the data, its sensitivity and how it will be processed.

In the digital era, citizens expand their fundamental rights with new e-rights - data and e-privacy, protection from cyberattacks, data ownership. The home appliance sector values such rights deeply and works to continue providing products in the full respect and support of e-rights.

 

Download the full Position Paper here.