Citizens fear government is misusing personal data collected from their IoT gadgets

Citizens fear government is misusing personal data collected from their IoT gadgets

Only 15% of British families use software to protect smart home devices

U.K. citizens are expressing concern over how personal data harvested from their IoT devices are being used by government organisations and third parties.

Citizens are also concerned about how secure their IoT devices are and that even international intelligence services could be snooping on them.

A survey of 1,000 U.K. citizens by Unisys has revealed that nearly half of all citizens are concerned that international and domestic intelligence services ‘can, and will, listen to or watch them via their smart televisions and other smart devices’.

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According to Unisys, the public’s concern stems from several factors that include terror attacks, high profile cyber-attacks, and the rising cost of living. As many of 85% of those surveyed expressed serious concerns over hacking, viruses and security of online transactions.

Security-related concerns of U.K. citizens registered a 40 percent increase compared to 2014 levels. Concerns over the safety of personal data rose by as much as 50 percent, with a large number of citizens expressing fear that they could be vulnerable to identity theft.

‘Steps to advise and protect the public, such as the launch of the National Cyber Security Centre, are moves in the right direction, but we need joined up thinking across the public and private sectors to ensure the public are aware of risks, know how to avoid threats and act as securely as possible,’ said Salvatore Sinno, chief security architect at Unisys.

The survey revealed that while citizens have embraced many new IoT devices and concepts, a lot of them are concerned over who can access their details and how they plan on using them. It revealed that while 79 percent Brits support using a button on their smartwatches to alert police to their location, only 41 percent support police being able to monitor their fitness tracker data at any moment to determine their location at a certain time.

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At the same time, only 32 percent of Brits would prefer a health insurer accessing fitness tracker data to determine a premium or other rewards. This is despite the fact that 74 percent support pacemakers or blood sugar sensors and 69 percent support sensors in luggage that communicate with an airport’s baggage management system.

Recently, Durham chief constable Mike Barton suggested that all internet-connected devices must feature cyber security ratings so that people can buy products that will ensure their safety and security at all times. Not only will this ensure that their products are protected from hackers, but will also reduce concerns among the public about the security of their data and how such data will be used.

Copyright Lyonsdown Limited 2021

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