As Britain works out what leaving the EU means, responsibility for replacing the EU RAPEX system for product recalls will probably fall to an organisation like this new office. As more products are connected to the internet, it’s vital that a replacement evolves to include information about software and component vulnerabilities.
By making sure that the data from the new office is available under an open licence for reuse by developers, whole new services could emerge:
- shops could automatically notify people if things they’ve bought in the past are found to have major vulnerabilities
- home routers that better understand the risks of particular devices on a network isolate or remove those devices
All of this is only possible if that new team is set up with the right focus. It needs the capability – staff, standards and tools – to respond to the safety issues that connected products present. That means looking at children’s toys as well as products destined for industrial use (which the announcement suggests will be outside of the scope of this new office).
But, if the focus is right, this team could make life safer for people all over the UK and set a precedent for how governments respond to connected technology. We’ll be watching closely to see how it develops.