iot data consumer privacy

Despite the popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, consumers still do not place their trust in the connected products on the market today. The biggest obstacle for manufacturers and developers to overcome is making IoT devices secure and to keep the users in control.

What is an IoT Device?

An Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computers, digital machines, objects, or people that have the ability to transfer data over a network with completely automated interaction. Any type of device can use this network if it has a sensor that connects to the internet and can be controlled using the web.

Contrary to popular belief, a smartphone or PC is not considered an IoT device. Usually, IoTs are devices that would not be expected to have an internet connection and communicate with the network without human action. Consumers still need to interact with a phone or computer so these are not yet fully automated. Examples of IoT devices include:

  • Amazon Echo smart home speaker
  • Connected appliances like smart refrigerators and robot vacuums
  • Whistle pet collars that track a pet’s location and activity
  • Nest thermostat that adapts to the environment
  • Smart security systems

While these products seem to be flying off the shelves and into homes, there are a number of consumers and developers alike who do not trust these revolutionary devices.

Is Connectivity Truly Better?

A report from the Internet Society and Consumers International found that 65% of consumers across the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, France, and the UK said they are concerned with the way that IoT devices collect data. Additionally, more than half said they do not trust the devices to handle their data responsibly or protect it.

Though there is a widespread concern over the technology, 69% of those who responded own connected devices. There is a clear argument that IoT innovative technology provides a convenient solution for accomplishing everyday tasks. But are consumers willing to give up their personal information for a somewhat smoother day-to-day experience? It is not only the public who are concerned but the IoT developers as well.

The goal of any company with a brand new product is to push it to market before the competition. A study by Auth0, a company that solves problems with online identity, found that 90% of developers felt security was inefficient. They feel pushed to get the product on the market and 85% of them admitted to rushing through the development process.

Recommendations to Build Consumer Trust

One of the foundations for building trust is informing the people how their data is being collected and how an IoT device is used. Companies tend not to give clear and concise information on their products or operations. A report consisting of input from several consumer organizations suggested a few ways to build consumer trust in the IoT devices.

  • Liability—a clear policy that dictates who is liable for damages or other incidents with IoT devices. Many times these devices come from several different manufacturers and consumers need a single point of contact for assistance.
  • Data Protection—consumers have the right to know how their data is used and by whom. This follows suit with recent GDPR laws.
  • Competition—consumers should not be locked into one type of product or service. The IoT should not prevent the option of shopping around for new companies offering the technology.
  • Security—perhaps the most important of the suggestions is ensuring total security for data and files. More connection means more vulnerabilities and access ways for hackers.

The Future of the IoT

While privacy is a major concern, there are some advantages to an interconnected world. It saves time by automating daily tasks and has strong monitoring features. Its integration with technical information makes for smooth operation and it encourages machine to machine interaction. This emerging technology will continue to grow rapidly from simple home products to the idea of an entire smart city.

With the vast amount of data that will be stored, the need for a secure storage solution is real. The SecureDrive products are hardware encrypted and are FIPS validated, meaning they have the highest security standards to protect personal information. These drives have unique authentication methods to keep access within the hands of the consumer. For more information on our secure storage solutions call 1-800-875-3230.