Consumers Express Concern About Personal Data Use

No doubt, connected devices are an increasingly hot commodity as the Internet of Things market continues to grow and will again be a major focus at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. However, the one issue that could put a damper on this growth is consumer concerns about data privacy issues and sharing personal information.

Today, TrustArc released some interesting new data related to the privacy concerns surrounding the growing Internet of Things (IoT). Two studies commissioned by TRUSTe, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K., show that 35% of U.S. and 41% of British consumers own one or more smart devices other than a smartphone.

The survey also showed that 79% of U.S. and 80% of British consumers are concerned about their personal information being collected by smart devices.

Slightly more Americans (20%) than Brits (14%) believe that the benefits of smart devices outweigh any privacy concerns. However, both numbers are notably low.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of consumers – 69% of U.S. consumers and 73% of British consumers – believe they should own any data collected through their smart devices, raising even more questions about the uncertainties of privacy in the big data era.

Smart Device Uncertainty Remains

For those who have not yet purchased a smart device, the reasons varied why.

More than 1 in 4 Americans and Brits said they do not own a smart device because of privacy or security concerns. Fifty-five percent of U.S. consumers said smart devices are too expensive, and 42% said they don’t see the point in owning such a device.

Forty-three percent of British consumers said they don’t see the point in owning a smart device, and 41% said the devices are too expensive. Twenty-one percent of U.S. consumers and 26% of Brits said they don’t know enough about smart devices to own one.

The integration of connected devices for our homes, cars, and offices will only continue to grow. According to another study, by the year 2020, it’s predicted there will be 26 billion connected devices around the world.

While IoT will provide a lot of conveniences as well as entertainment value for consumers, privacy is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed. The key to assuaging consumer concerns is to create a transparent privacy policy to explain how and why the consumer’s data is being collected and used.