The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the safety of applications ("apps") and other non-embedded software as part of an effort to ensure a high level of health, safety and consumer protection.

Women's hands with a sports bracelet and smart phone close-up

The Commission wants to hear from all those who develop and use apps and software that are not embedded in a physical object at the time of their placement in the market. Only apps and non-embedded software that are downloadable on a device such as a personal computer, tablet or smartphone or accessible on a remote location (cloud) is covered by this consultation. This is the case of applications that users download on their smartphone and which cover a wide range of areas (from counting the number of steps during a day, helping  find the cheapest flight online to editing pictures and videos, and many more). For example, the Commission is asking if the apps or other non-embedded software can pose safety risks and if they do pose any risks, what those risks are. The Commission wants to know which sectors are most affected by safety problems and if people were already affected by unsafe applications.

Commissioner Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society said: "Whenever a person downloads an app or software, they need to be sure that it won't cause any damage, especially when it comes to health advice. I invite everyone to participate in this public consultation and share their experience to see how far the app sector takes care of consumers' safety (see also his blog post on e-health about trust and standards).

The views of consumers, organisations, public bodies, and businesses across all sectors – from telecommunications to transport, from health to finance - will help to define the next steps.

This consultation will look into the safety of applications 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.

This consultation will remain open until 15 September. Following the evaluation process, the Commission will decide on the next steps regarding the safety of apps and non-imbedded software.

Respond to the consultation online.