The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has resulted in the malfunction of some Internet-connected devices at homes in Europe, according to media sources.
The GDPR, which came into effect on May 25, aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business.
Chinese manufacturer Yeelight, for example, sent a notice to its customers saying that its light bulb is not functional because of the new regulatory environment. “According to GDPR, we will not be able to continue to provide this service to you.”
As a result, individual light bulbs made by Yeelight can only be functional if they are switched on one at a time, without all the smart features. In other words, the smart light bulb has to be downgraded to an average one over privacy issues.
Some netizens have expressed doubts that Yeelight, which is affiliated with Xiaomi Technology, might have been collecting data from end-users, and store records of when lights are switched on and off.
Yeelight CEO Eric Jiang said, however, that the product is only pulled off temporarily, and will be put back into service after the regulations are met.
“We do not store private data from customers. This is an ethical issue. This is fundamental for an enterprise that plans to operate for the long run,” Jiang said in response to the suspected data collection.
The scope of GDPR’s regulations is very wide, and much software development and testing is required. Yeelight is now pulled offline as a preventive measure, Jiang added.