Internet of Things remains privacy concern for consumers

New research has found that consumers worldwide have reservations about the security of connected devices within the Internet of Things (IoT).

A study conducted by the Internet Society, in partnership with global consumer group organisation, Consumers International, poled the views of citizens in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the UK and the US regarding views on IoT trust and security.

When asked about the levels of data being collected by smart devices, 63% described those levels as “creepy” – a telling reaction given the growing number of connected kids’ toys in the international marketplace.

Trust proved to be a similar concern, with 53% of respondents saying that they did not trust their devices to protect their privacy, and to process data in a responsible way. The result chimes with a further finding, that 75% of consumers surveyed said that they were significantly concerned about how data is used by other organisations without the consumer being made aware, or giving their consent.

Clearly, the concerns revealed in the report challenge manufacturers and retailers alike to do more to shore up IoT device security, and to demonstrate that user privacy and data protection are a priority.

In the UK, calls for more to be done have led to proposals for new laws that could force companies to introduce a new labelling system to explain in a straightforward way how secure the connected device is.

Under the new measures, IoT gadgets would have to come with a unique password by default, clearly state how long security updates would be made available, and give consumers contact details so that cyber security problems could be passed on to the right authority50

The Internet Society also asked consumers who, they felt, should be leading in finding solutions to IoT privacy and security problems. In response, 88% said that regulators should take responsibility, 81% said manufacturers, and 80% said the buck stops at retailers.

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