Privacy Concerns Over Internet of Things Rises

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2015-04-30 Print this article Print
iot and consumer privacy

The majority (54 percent) of consumers said they believe or are unsure whether the benefits of IoT outweigh the concerns about privacy or security.

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), consumers increasingly worry about the security of their personal information and if their right to data privacy has become non-existent, according to a Ponemon Institute survey of 1,903 consumers in the United States, Europe and Japan. The survey was sponsored by Trend Micro.

The majority (54 percent) of respondents said they believe or are unsure whether the benefits of IoT outweigh the concerns about privacy or security.

When asked if manufacturers of devices provided details about how their personal information will be used, 82 percent of respondents say they did not receive any information or they are unsure. Only 18 percent of respondents recall receiving such information.

The IoT concept consists of a wired or wireless network that connects devices, or "things" that are characterized by autonomous provisioning, management and monitoring. Research firm IDC expects the market to hit $7.3 trillion by 2017.

Approximately a quarter of the Ponemon survey respondents claim they don’t know how companies use their personal information, while a large percentage (56 percent) said they thought it was sold for unknown purposes.

While 44 percent do believe the benefits of IoT outweigh their concerns about privacy or security, 42 percent say they do not and 14 percent are unsure.

The survey indicated experience with smart devices is limited, with most respondents using or planning to use smartphones and tablets (76 percent) and smart TVs (70 percent).

The survey also found that there is little use or planned use of smart security systems, Google Glass and fitness tracking wearables. Overall, the results suggest that uncertainty and the lack of control over how personal information is collected, shared, and stored could deter many consumers from using smart devices.

Forty-five percent of respondents said they have become more concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information in the past five years.

Just 20 percent of respondents said they feel they are still in control of how their personal information is collected, shared and stored after they share it with companies, but 59 percent of U.S. consumers said they would be prepared to sell personal data to trusted companies.

Respondents’ top four privacy concerns are falling victim to a data breach (73 percent); having personal information shared with third parties (59 percent); the increasing use of mobile devices (53 percent), and increasing use of social media (46 percent).

More than half (56 percent) of respondents said they would be willing to provide their personal data to trusted companies in exchange for money. On average, respondents would accept $76 for their passwords and $60 for information about their health condition. Social Security numbers are valued at $56.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel