Privacy Concerns Impact Internet of Things Technology

Eighty percent of respondents said they are very concerned about the security of their personal data when using smart devices, a Trend Micro survey found.

IOT and security

The majority of consumers aren't willing to alter their behavior to preserve privacy in the era of the Internet of things, even though it remains a huge issue for people, a Trend Micro survey of 1,903 individuals from 18 countries found.

Forty-four percent of consumers believe the benefits of the Internet of things (IoT), such as the interconnectivity of wearable and smart devices, outweigh privacy concerns. That's even with 80 percent of respondents saying they are very concerned about the security of their personal data when using smart devices, with 74 percent concerned when using social media sites.

However, a much smaller percentage (just over 50 percent of respondents) were concerned about their privacy.

"Based on the study responses, I think that many people are giving up some of their concerns because they feel they've lost or are losing control over their privacy and security," Christopher Budd, global threat communication manager at Trend Micro, told eWEEK. "One of the most interesting findings of the report is the data that would seem to indicate that consumers are losing some of their concerns around personal information."

Budd noted that when you look at such data as 75 percent of respondents saying they have little or no control over their personal information and 47 percent saying they have become more concerned about the security and privacy of their personal information, it would seem to show the concerns are still there, but people are throwing up their hands in futility.

The survey also found that the majority of respondents (61 percent) understand that personal data is valuable because it helps companies market and sell products.

"Businesses that empower people to be in control of their personal information stand to excel in the IoT. It's clear that people see their data as having value, and people would be willing to exchange their information freely if the price is right and the seller is trusted," Budd said. "Combining that with the sense that users don't understand how to secure their information gives me a view that there's a huge opportunity for businesses to change the dialogue around personal information into a trusted dialogue."

Budd explained that people are willing to be a part of the commercialization of their data, but they also want to understand how to control it and how it's going to be used.

The survey also found 56 percent of respondents said they would be willing to provide their personal data to trusted companies if they are compensated—on average, respondents would accept $76 for their passwords and $60 for health information.

"The personal information issues of the near future will be a continuation of unpleasant surprises to users of what data is collected and how it's being used. We should also brace for the problems around data breaches to expand to encompass IoT-gathered data," Budd said. "We already are starting to see data breaches move from financial data, like from Target, to more personal data, like Anthem and Premera. We should expect this trend to continue and reach into the IoT space as well."