Nearly two-thirds of UK consumers are concerned with the way connected devices collect data, according to a new survey by the Internet Society.
The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that almost half of British consumers (48 per cent) do not trust their connected devices to protect their privacy and a similar proportion (49 per cent) do not trust them to handle their information responsibly.
When compared to other countries, the survey found that 73 per cent of global consumers surveyed worry about eavesdropping, 63 per cent think their IoT device is "creepy", and more than half (55 per cent) are concerned with how their connected device collects data.
"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."
the results of the survey were announced at Consumers International Summit 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. The study also found that 69 per cent of those surveyed said they own connected devices, such as smart meters, fitness monitors, connected toys, home assistants, or gaming consoles.
However, testing by multiple consumers organisations has found a range of products are rushed to market with little consideration for basic security and privacy protections.
The survey results show that 77 per cent of consumers across markets said information about privacy and security are important considerations in their buying decisions and almost a third of people (28 per cent) who don’t own a connected device don’t buy smart products because of these concerns. Consumers see this as broadly as much of a barrier than cost.
Those surveyed also believe that accountability for connected device concerns should sit with regulators, manufacturers and retailers. 88 per cent of survey respondents said that regulators should ensure IoT privacy and security standards, while 81 per cent of people said manufacturers need to provide that assurance and 80 per cent said retailers must address privacy and security. 60 per cent of participants across markets think consumers to be mainly responsible for the security and privacy of their connected devices.
Helena Leurent, director general at 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-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."