What the Internet of Things means for consumer privacy

March 22, 2018
Global

As the digital era has unfolded, consumers have become steadily more aware of the uses that businesses make of the personal information that is handed over when accessing services. Many consumers have become adept at exercising control over how their data are used, for example through consent forms and opt-outs.

However, the IoT—the rapidly expanding network of devices, physical objects, services and applications that communicate over the internet—poses a new set of privacy challenges, as it changes the relationship between individuals and their personal data. Gartner, a research firm, projected the number of “connected things” in the global consumer segment to reach 7bn in 2018, rising to 12.9bn in 2020.

To explore this topic, The EIU has conducted a survey of over 1,600 consumers in eight countries. Some of the findings of the survey include:

  • 92% of global consumers say they want to control what personal information is automatically collected
  • 74% of global consumers are concerned that small privacy invasions may eventually lead to a loss of civil rights
  • 57% say the “right to be forgotten” is among the most important consumer rights regarding third-party use of personal information
  • 92% want to increase punishments for companies that violate consumers’ privacy

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