Why consumers are still worried on IoT security and do not trust their devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of Internet into physical devices we use every day and we can control and monitor remotely. IoT devices belong to the concept of Smart Home.

With the advance of the technology and the need of people to ease their daily grind it is natural that the Internet of Things industry has developed. However, consequently, have increased also the fears and the concerns of its users on the privacy and the security of the devices they are owning. This was the conclusion of a report issued by Internet Society in partnership with Consumers International, a global organization with more than 200 member groups. The study (“The Trust Opportunity: Exploring Consumers’ Attitudes to the IoT”) was made on consumers from Canada, Australia, Japan, France, UK and USA in early 2019.

The report excluded laptops and mobile phones and focused on home assistants, gaming consoles, any sort of monitors and connected toys. At least 69% of the people participating in the study claimed to own at least one smart connected gadget and 63% consider the data collection process as “creepy”. Originally consumers might have bought toys to ensure the safety of their children, however with the realization that a third party might record data on their kids they consider them now as “creepy”.

As many as 54% consider that the connected devices are not to be trusted in regards to their privacy and confidential information.

Nowadays people are much better informed than in the past on cybersecurity risks and also on the fact that not all IoT vendors have a strong approach on data protection capabilities on their own devices.

75% of the survey’s participants are very concerned that their data might be used by other organizations without their approval.

Conclusions of the report on consumer attitude to IoT gadgets

With a percentage as low as 28% of the people who do not own a connected gadget and are not keen to buy any in the future, there is no doubt that something has to change and the privacy issues have to be resolved.

If manufacturers want to see their business going up and clients more trusty in their products then they need to work on how the data is collected and transmitted.

The question is who has to take the lead in resolving IoT privacy and security issues. 88% of the survey participants suggested regulators, followed by manufacturers (81%) and retailers (80%).

In the past there were concerns regarding the credit card information security confidentiality and that lead to the development of website security measures. Same process has to happen to IoT devices to ease consumers concerns. Companies should consider the effort they put in improving the data protection of their devices as a source of competitive advantage in the market. This will only increase the trust of the potential consumers who will be more likely to buy their connected devices.

Governmental initiatives were already taken in California which became the first state to pass an IoT security law and in UK was just introduced a draft law requiring security featured to be labeled on the package. It is a matter of time that more countries will introduce new laws to protect the privacy and security of their citizens’ information.

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