“Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,” says Christian Wetterberg, global head of product safety and compliance at Lego. our internal tests to ensure the mechanical and physical safety of the various elements.As Duplo products are sold to children under the age of 3, small parts must not be present, as there is a risk of suffocation.After the toy has been assembled, the machine tests it by exerting a pressure higher than that required by law”.
Connected toys: how to protect privacy?
The controversial voice-activated dolls have shown some of the risks of connected toys: Insecure Bluetooth connections have led to children’s conversations being recorded. Also, toys in some cases can be hacked. How does Lego address these issues? “We’ve been developing and creating connected toys over the last few years, so we have a set of established safety and compliance processes,” said Tim Taylor-Bowden, architect at the Lego group.
But how does Lego fare on data and privacy issues? “Concern for child safety and privacy is a priority for Lego – says Bowden – so by default we have many practices that make our products safe before even considering the laws in force. For example, our connected toys they do not currently collect any data from users. We have designed the toy to limit the data it processes and how it is processed. So, for example, the only files that can be placed in Super Mario are the ones we created for him and which are used to create Mario’s expressions, his voice, the sound effects of the game and so on”.
Why use standards?
Standards are voluntary guidelines that define the technical requirements of products, production processes, services or test methods. They are developed by different stakeholders, such as industry, researchers, public authorities and consumer associations.
Here are some of the key benefits:
They improve product safety and performance, as well as protect consumers, workers and the environment.
They allow different technologies to work together.
They strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses.
They facilitate innovation and promote the adoption of new technologies.
Standards are technical descriptions of how something should be made or function: the filtering capacity of face masks, for example, or the connectivity of mobile phones. The CE mark indicates that a product complies with the laws of the European Union and can be sold in the single market. The European Commission is developing the Cyber Resilience Act: stricter rules on cyber security to address the challenges related to the digital revolution and the green transition.
A push for innovation
“Standards are a source of technology for companies – says Sebastiano Toffaletti, general secretary of the European Digital Alliance SME -. If we think of cybersecurity, data, cloud computing, even artificial intelligence, all of this is very often based on the existence of standards. Let’s take cybersecurity as an example: it’s a very complex thing to manage. What can be done to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack? There are international standards on cybersecurity that prescribe concrete steps”.
Standards also stimulate innovation, without companies having to reinvent the wheel. “The beauty of standards is that they provide a neutral level of technology – says Toffaletti -. Everyone else can build on them, so it’s a way to share knowledge and technology that can allow those who use standards to innovate and create new things “.
But as strong as standards are, they are not always enough to fight counterfeiting. “Our system is based on the declaration of conformity by the manufacturer and on market control – says Wetterberg -. But how does a consumer know this? I think it is about paying attention to where you buy the products, maybe not on an unknown website from which one can import the toy at a very low cost”.
Standards are a pillar of the single market and Europe needs to make sure it is at the forefront when guidelines are drawn up, as well as building a whole new generation of standards experts.
(Andrea Bolitho on Euronews of 07/02/2023)
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