Are connected devices creepy? Study shows high levels of mistrust

are connected devices creepy
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A new study has found just under two thirds of consumers actively distrust the level to which connected devices connect and retain their data.

The research, commissioned by non-profit group the Internet Society and Consumers International, the global membership group for consumer bodies, was conducted in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the UK and the USA by Ipsos Mori. It found that 55 per cent of those surveyed did not trust their connected devices – defined by the survey as “everyday products and devices that can connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth” such as smart meters, home assistants and connected toys – to adequately protect their privacy, while 28 per cent said they did not own a connected device specifically because of concerns over privacy and security.

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

The study suggested many devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) had been rushed to market, with insufficient testing conducted to ensure consumers’ privacy would be protected. 88 per cent of respondents to the survey said security standards of connected devices needed to be enforced by regulators; and 81 per cent said device manufacturers should ensure privacy standards were met before bringing products to market.

Consumers International Director General Helena Leurent 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-centred 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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