European Commission Launches Internet of Things Probe Targeting Siri, Alexa and More

Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and other voice assistants and connected home products are the target of a new Internet of Things probe the European Commission launched today.

The European Commission says that it's aiming to prevent big companies from becoming "gatekeepers" of the Internet of Things through market domination and data collection.

ios14compactsiri

The potential is incredible. But we'll only see the full benefits - low prices, wide choice, innovative products and services - if the markets for these devices stay open and competitive. And the trouble is that competition in digital markets can be fragile. When big companies abuse their power, they can very quickly push markets beyond the tipping point, where competition turns to monopoly. We've seen that happen before. If we don't act in good time, there's a serious risk that it will happen again, with the Internet of Things.

And one of the key issues here is data. Voice assistants and smart devices can collect a vast amount of data about our habits. And there's a risk that big companies could misuse the data collected through such devices, to cement their position in the market against the challenges of competition. They might even use their knowledge of how we access other services to enter the market for those services and take it over.

It's important, says the European Commission, to ensure that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another as the Internet of Things market grows, allowing customers the freedom to find the best product on the market without worrying which about which devices it might or might not be compatible with.

The sector inquiry into the Internet of Things will allow the European Commission to "spot problems" and then "take action while there's still time." Right now, the European Commission is seeking data and has sent questionnaires to 400 companies in Europe, Asia, and America that sell smart home appliances, wearables, and voice assistants, along with businesses that provide services that can be used through the aforementioned devices.

The European Commission is questioning companies on how smart products work together and possible problems that might arise making them interoperable. The results of the questionnaires will let the commission find situations where "companies may have broken the competition rules" and will provide information for future regulatory initiatives.

Apple's ‌Siri‌ voice assistant was specifically mentioned in the commission's letter, and the Cupertino-based company will also likely have to answer questions about HomeKit, its smart home framework that supports HomeKit-connected devices.

Top Rated Comments

itsmeaustend Avatar
15 months ago
Just another example of lawmakers getting involved with things they know nothing about.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
15 months ago

TF does that mean? “...that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another...” What a load of horse manure. Since when are Xbox games playing on a PlayStation or Nintendo? No, not everything is universal and compatible with the world. And that’s the manufacturer’s decision. The EU can develop their own unicorn product if they think they can please everyone. Smh
It isn't anything to do with games consoles. They are making it so you don't get caught up always having to buy Philip's lightbulbs because they are the only ones that work with your phone.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnnytravels Avatar
15 months ago

The European Commission says that it's aiming to prevent big companies from becoming "gatekeepers" of the Internet of Things through market domination and data collection.

That is hilarious to me.. what exactly are they doing with their commissions? Collecting data and becoming gatekeepers themselves. Some serious bias happening toward tech companies to say the very least.. not that they are squeaky clean by any means.
It's hilarous to you because you don't understand the difference between a corporation and a government.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lounge vibes 05 Avatar
15 months ago
Didn’t Apple, Google, and Amazon just enter in agreement that would make this all actually work? Like all of the smart home devices would work together, no matter what platform it was on? Wouldn’t that solve this problem
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
15 months ago

They just need to make an ISO like standard, like WiFI and Bluetooth.
Great idea! They could call it ZigBee.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dredlew Avatar
15 months ago
TF does that mean? “...that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another...” What a load of horse manure. Since when are Xbox games playing on a PlayStation or Nintendo? No, not everything is universal and compatible with the world. And that’s the manufacturer’s decision. The EU can develop their own unicorn product if they think they can please everyone. Smh
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
macbook air deals

Deals: Amazon Drops Price of 256GB M1 MacBook Air to New Low of $849.99 ($149 Off)

Friday August 27, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Amazon today introduced new low prices on the M1 MacBook Air for both 256GB and 512GB storage options. To start, you can get the 256GB model for $849.99, down from an original price of $999.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Only Silver and Gold are...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
maxresdefault

'Being James Bond' Retrospective Will Be Free to Watch Through Apple TV App

Tuesday August 31, 2021 8:25 am PDT by
Update 9/7/21: "Being James Bond" is now available to watch through the Apple TV app. Ahead of the theatrical release of James Bond film "No Time To Die" on October 8 in the United States, a 45-minute retrospective titled "Being James Bond" will be available to watch for free through the Apple TV app, according to Deadline. The story from MGM is said to feature Daniel Craig reflecting ...
ted lasso notchless phone

No, That Notchless iPhone Spotted in 'Ted Lasso' Isn't the iPhone 13

Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Recent sightings of a notchless iPhone in highly popular Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso" have led to sensational headlines suggesting this is a canny bit of product placement on Apple's part and that the iPhone 13 will be notchless. In actuality – and this could go without saying – the phone in question is very likely just showing a poorly superimposed display added in post-production. Notchless ...