Up to 63% of consumers now find connected devices "creepy"
Recently, some disturbing reports indicating that Amazon, Google and Apple may let workers or contractors listen in on the audio coming from smart-home devices without their owners' knowledge have arisen. Despite the growing popularity of the products (mainly smart speakers) involved, consumers may have lost faith in these kinds of products as a result. A 2019 study on their attitudes to this kind of technology appears to show that this is indeed the case.
This project was set up by the Internet Society, a not-for-profit organization with a worldwide membership that describes itself as "dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet", in partnership with Consumers International, an umbrella group of "200 member organizations in more than 100 countries" that "empowers and champions the rights of consumers everywhere". They recruited a minimum of 1000 consumers located in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Australia. These subjects completed an online survey on their feelings toward connected devices in March 2019.
These were defined as electronics (e.g. smart-home products, health-trackers or even consoles) that can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to interact with each other, but are not mobile devices or PCs. The study's results showed that 63% of the total cohort found connected devices "creepy", and that 53% did not trust these devices with their privacy or to handle their personal information appropriately. Furthermore, 75% of the consumers agreed with statements to the effect that their data ran the risk of transfer to 3rd parties by connected-device makers without their permission.
This study also found that half of the consumers reported that they knew how to turn off applicable data-collecting settings at need. Finally, 88% of the study's respondents felt that the responsibllity for privacy safeguards should fall on governmental regulators, whereas 81% said that manufacturers should uphold the same, and 80% reported that those who sell connected devices should do the same.
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