More than two-thirds (69 percent) of US and UK consumers are concerned about the security of their personal data with Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
That’s according to a new poll of 4,002 adults by identity and access management vendor Gigya.
The company’s survey found that there was apprehension over the security of IoT devices, with 69 percent of respondents either ‘very concerned’ or ‘concerned’ about the security of their personal data on devices like smart watches, connected cars, fitness trackers and home appliances.
A fifth (20 percent) of respondents said they were ‘neither concerned nor unconcerned’, while 11 percent were ‘unconcerned’ or ‘very unconcerned’.
Regionally, Americans were slightly more concerned overall about IoT security than their UK counterparts, with 73 percent ‘very concerned’ or ‘concerned’ compared to 66 per cent of UK consumers.
Blurring the digital with the physical world
Rob Bamforth, analyst at IT advisory organization Quocirca, suggested that the high proportion of consumers who are concerned about IoT security could indicate the differences between the digital and physical world and how difficult people find it to visualize their digital impact.
He uses the comparison of walking into an exhibition hall and using a website.
“In an exhibition hall, consumers are aware that there are countless people selling them things, tracking their passes and scanning a code to get into sessions – whereas on a website people can’t see separate cookies or trackers from a myriad of companies,” he said.
This is why consumers may be more wary of physical devices such as smart watches, cars and fitness bands, he suggested.
“While we can’t see all of the smarts inside them, their physical presence reminds us that they are there, and we now know they are all connected, even if we don’t know precisely what they’re doing,” he said.
He also suggested that unlike desktops and laptops – which can be quite impersonal and can have users often feeling as if they’re anonymous and invincible – wearable devices, transportation and home appliances are perceived as more personal and this is perhaps why consumers in both the UK and US are sceptical about the security of these IoT devices and the privacy of their data.