Consumers dont trust connected devices, survey shows

Internet Society survey shows majority of consumers don't trust connected devices with their data or their privacy

Fifty-five percent of consumers do not trust their connected devices, including smart meters, to protect their privacy
Fifty-five percent of consumers do not trust their connected devices, including smart meters, to protect their privacy

Well over half of all consumers are concerned about their connected devices and don’t trust them to protect their privacy, according to a new survey.

The global study, conducted for the Internet Society and Consumers International, found that 65% of consumers are concerned with the way connected devices collect data, and 55% do not trust their connected devices to protect their privacy.

Fifty-three percent do not trust connected devices to handle their information responsibly. 

The survey, which included consumers in US, Canada, Japan, Australia, France and the United Kingdom, considered internet-connected devices such as smart meters, fitness monitors, connected toys, home assistants, or gaming consoles. The definition excluded tablets, mobile phones, and laptops

The survey results show that 77% of consumers across markets said information about privacy and security are important considerations in their buying decisions and almost a third of people (28%) 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 Internet Society President and CEO Andrew Sullivan. “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. 88% percent of survey respondents said that regulators should ensure IoT privacy and security standards, while 81% of people said manufacturers need to provide that assurance, and 80% said retailers must address privacy and security. 60% of participants across markets think consumers to be mainly responsible for the security and privacy of their connected devices.

Helena Leurent, Director General, Consumers International said: “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. 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.”

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