The MCCAA organised a conference on ‘Trusted Smart Products’ to mark this year’s World Consumer Rights Day.
In his welcome speech, Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Rights, Public Cleansing and Support for the Capital City Deo Debattista said that, “smart technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives and we consumers are increasingly becoming dependent on smart devices which have redefined the way we live our life.” Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista also spoke about the benefits of smart technology for consumers which is introducing a whole new product choice that is increasing convenience and personalisation. He also outlined possible threats of connected technologies. “Unsecure smart devices expose us to cyberattacks and jeopardise the safety of consumers”, noted Deo Debattista. The Parliamentary Secretary said that the MCCAA has been working with other member states and secured the necessary support for the New Deal EU Legislation that revisits consumer legislation to ensure that consumers continue to have their rights protected in the face of this changing products environment.
During her address, MCCAA Chairperson Helga Pizzuto emphasised the important role of the MCCAA to ensure that consumers are well informed on the potential risks arising from smart connected products such that they can fully benefit from the connected world they are living in without falling victim to security and privacy attacks. She added that as regulators, “we have a responsibility to ensure that consumers are aware of both the benefits and the threats of using intelligent devices so that they can make the right choices and maximise the benefits of technology”.
During the conference, speakers from the European Commission, the University of Malta, the Malta Police Force, the Information and Data Protection Commission, the GRTU and consumer law experts, discussed the effect of smart technology on consumers’ everyday lives. The users’ privacy and safety was also a key discussion topic with the importance for full consumer awareness of personal data use being underlined.
The conference’s speakers also provided insights into the legislative changes that are underway or that need to be implemented to ensure effective consumer protection. In her address, the MCCAA chairperson stressed that when carrying out, “the required legal changes, we need to be pro-active and whenever possible anticipate future problems, hence avoiding incident-driven regulation.”
The conference reinforced collaboration amongst relevant stakeholders to ensure stronger consumer protection and empowerment.