The European Commission is extending a probe into the spread of the internet.
The regulator says it expects an explosion in the number of household appliances and other devices connected to the net before 2020.
It is launching a consultation over controls of the way information is gathered, stored and processed, saying it wants to "ensure the rights of individuals are respected".
The public is being invited to send in its views before a 12 July deadline.
The commission says that the average person living within the 27-nation bloc has at least two devices connected to the net at present - typically a computer and smartphone.
It expects the figure to rise to seven by 2015, with a total of 25 billion wirelessly connected to the net worldwide. By the end of the decade it says that could climb to 50 billion.
"If a university teacher cancels a morning lecture because they are sick, students' alarm clocks and coffee machines could automatically be reset," it gives as an example.
"If an elderly person forgets to take an essential pill, a warning message could be sent to a close family member."
"People need to know and trust that this sort of change is one they are comfortable with, and it's important to have that conversation now," a spokesman told the BBC.Energy-efficient chips
The spread of wireless-connected devices has been dubbed "the internet of things" and has previously identified as potential catalyst to the economy.
Arm Holdings - the British computer chip designer - is at the forefront of efforts to spur on the tech.