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Digital Trust in the IoT Era: 54% of people don’t trust security protecting their info

Jul 15, 20154 mins
Data and Information SecurityInternet of ThingsMicrosoft

Half of people surveyed don't trust the online security protecting their personal info, and 77% are ready to kick passwords to the curb.

connected home illustration internet of things IoT
Credit: ThinkStock

During 2014-2015, an estimated 900 million consumers will have been affected by data breaches, according to Accenture’s Digital Trust in the IoT Era report. Seventy-seven percent of people surveyed by Accenture are ready to kick passwords and usernames to the curb. Within the next year, 59% of people would like to use a “uniquely encoded chip” in their phone or computer, and 58% are ready to give biometrics a try to protect their online security and privacy.

“54% of digital consumers are cautious about the information they share due to lack of confidence in the online security that protects their personal data,” according to the 2015 Accenture digital consumer survey of 24,000 consumers, age “14 to 55+” years, from 24 countries.

Accenture wrote in Digital Trust in the IoT Era, “The amount of personal data that companies can now collect on consumers is unprecedented and growing. New connected devices will help companies to capture whole new categories of data at scale and use datasets in ways not yet conceived.”

By 2018, global IP traffic will reach 1.6 zettabytes annually; “projected annual IP traffic in 2018 will be greater than all IP traffic that has been generated globally from 1984-2013.” Accenture said “the majority of the traffic will originate on devices other than PCs and that wireless traffic will exceed wired traffic. By 2018, 57% of IP traffic will come from devices other than PCs.”

By 2020, about half of all consumers will own at least one connected IoT device. Within the next five years, people surveyed said they want to purchase home surveillance systems, smart watches, wearable fitness monitors and health devices, smart home thermostats, 3D printers and in-vehicle entertainment systems.

Yet being excited to jump on the IoT bandwagon is not the same thing as trusting the security of those devices or even trusting their personal info to companies selling them. Ninety percent of respondents feel that companies violate their privacy, such as sharing their info with other companies without the customer opting in or otherwise granting their permission.

Accenture mentioned that in the U.S., banks are first and then Amazon is second when it comes to being trusted with personal information. It’s a little bit terrifying that Indonesia, India and Brazil consumers believe Google is the most trusted brand, followed by Facebook. Yikes! Globally, consumers most trust telecoms and banks with their personal information, followed by handset or PC manufacturers.

Accenture goes on to say one in four people are willing to share personal data in exchange for better service or for the choice of what can be shared with third parties. The choice is not always there, and if you check out the permissions required by some IoT apps then you might shy away from smart devices altogether. In America, most of Congress remains clueless about the IoT, since many politicians don’t even know what the Internet of Things is, even though 127 devices are added to Internet every second. Do Americans trust companies enough to start wearing smart clothes?

Smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency may believe so, as it provided a $2.6 million grant to the University of California, San Diego, for the engineering project ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating).

The end game is to reduce heating and air conditioning bills via a smart fabric “designed to regulate the temperature of the wearer’s skin—keeping it at 93° F—by adapting to temperature changes in the room. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter, the fabric will become thinner.” The researchers plan for the “smart fabric to power itself. The fabric will include rechargeable batteries, which will power the thermoelectrics, as well as biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat.”

If and when that smart fabric becomes available, won’t it be up to each company to decide how much personal info it collects or shares?

Accenture claims “digital trust is at a deficit.” but the four keys to companies building digital trust are “security, privacy, benefit/value and accountability. The time is now to close the gap in consumer confidence and gain their digital trust. It is simply a prerequisite for those wanting to leverage the IoT business and technology opportunities that are just over the horizon.”

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.