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Grow Your Business Technology

Internet of Things: Consumers Conflicted Between Privacy and Convenience

Internet of Things: Consumers Conflicted Between Privacy and Convenience
IoT privacy and security top concerns for consumers / Credit: Eye image via Shutterstock

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here and there's no turning back — interconnected gadgets, biometrics, talking cars and mind-reading sensors are just a few of the IoT indicators rapidly proliferating in our daily lives, but consumers remain cautious, new research finds. 

ISACA, a professional information security, assurance, risk management and governance association, has released 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer, a study highlighting consumers' struggle between privacy and convenience in an increasingly interconnected world.

As the IoT grows, only 1 percent of Americans trust app makers with personal data, the study revealed. And although 92 percent express concerns about the information collected by Internet-connected devices, 81 percent also said they don't always read privacy policies before downloading apps to their smartphones or tablets. 

[8 Ways the Internet of Things Will Change the Way We Work]

The study also found that while most (90 percent) consumers are concerned that their online information will be stolen, more than half (51 percent) use the same two to three passwords across multiple sites; 4 in 10 (40 percent) also write down their passwords to remember them. 

Additionally, 50 percent of consumers feel that they don't have control over how websites use their information, yet 25 percent also admitted to not having checked the privacy settings on their social network profiles in the past six months, the study found.

Furthermore, despite having used Internet-connected devices such as GPS systems (62 percent), electronic toll devices (28 percent) or smart TVs (20 percent), only 6 percent of respondents said they have heard the term "Internet of Things." 

With 50 billion devices expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020, researchers said such conflicts regarding privacy, security and convenience trade-offs, along with the gap between belief and behavior, will become even more significant as IoT plays a greater role in business and in daily life.

"Internet-connected devices are already delivering powerful business and lifestyle benefits, but organizations using these need to proceed with transparency and with the consumer at the forefront of their decisions," said Jeff Spivey, international vice president of ISACA. "The deep concerns about privacy and security uncovered by this year's IT Risk/Reward Barometer show that enterprises need to establish and openly communicate policies around use of personal data to preserve trust in information."

In a related survey, IT professionals said they see the benefit in IoT in the enterprise. Nonetheless, almost all (99 percent) believe IoT poses governance issues, though 42 percent say the benefits — such as greater access to information and improved services — outweigh the risk.

Nearly half (48 percent) of IT professionals also believe that the benefits of Internet-connected devices outweigh its risks for consumers, the study found. However, while consumers believe the greatest risk is someone hacking into their connected devices, IT professionals believe consumers should be more concerned about who has access to their information or how it will be used. 

The study surveyed 2,013 ISACA members and 4,000 consumers around the world.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Sara Angeles
Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.