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Two thirds of consumers think connected devices are “creepy”

Consumers are distrustful of how devices collect data about people and their behaviours and more than half don’t trust them to protect privacy.

Two thirds of consumers (65 per cent) are concerned with the way connected devices such as smart meters and personal digital assistants collect data, a new study finds.

 

A similar proportion think connected devices are creepy in the way they collect data about people and their behaviours and more than half (55 per cent) do not trust their connected devices to protect their privacy. More than half (53 per cent) also do not trust connected devices to handle their information responsibly.

 

Basic security concerns

 

The survey by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Internet Society and Consumers International was conducted in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, France and the UK.

 

The study noted that testing by multiple consumers organisations has found a range of products are rushed to market with little consideration for basic security and privacy protections.

 

The survey results show that more than three quarters of consumers (77 per cent) across markets said information about privacy and security are important considerations in their buying decisions and more than a quarter of people (28 per cent) who don’t own a connected device don’t buy smart products because of these concerns.

 

Consumers see this broadly as much of a barrier as cost.

 

“The survey results underscore the need for IoT manufacturers to build their devices with security and privacy in mind,” said Andrew Sullivan, president and CEO, Internet Society.

 

“Security should not be an afterthought. It’s clear that manufacturers and retailers need to do more so that consumers can trust their IoT devices.”

 

Those surveyed also believe that accountability for connected device concerns should sit with regulators, manufacturers and retailers.

 

Nine in 10 of survey respondents (88 per cent) said that regulators should ensure Internet of Things (IoT) privacy and security standards, while four-fifths of people (81 per cent) said manufacturers need to provide that assurance, and similar proportion said retailers must address privacy and security.

“Security should not be an afterthought. It’s clear that manufacturers and retailers need to do more so that consumers can trust their IoT devices”

“Consumers have told us they accept that they have some responsibility for the security and privacy of their IoT products but that isn’t the end of the story. They, and we, want to see tangible action from manufacturers, retailers, and governments on this issue.” Added Helena Leurent, director general, Consumers International.

 

She continued: “It has to be a collective effort, not the responsibility of one group. We are exploring this conversation with progressive manufacturers. Together we are looking at the opportunity to create person-centered technology, that people not only enjoy using, but feel safe and secure doing so. By doing this business can address the concerns of those not engaging with this tech, and open up the benefits of the Internet of Things to everyone.”

 

Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society is a non-profit organisation dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet.

 

Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure and advocates for policies that enable universal access.

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