Over half of consumers are 'worried' about internet of things security and privacy

60 per cent of global mobile users are "worried" about living in a world of connected devices, with privacy and security among their main concerns, according to research from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF).

While nine out of 10 consumers agreed that the internet of things would be of value to their lives, over half harboured concerns about the possible risks that come with the technology.

The study from the global mobile trade body was conducted in association with online security company AVG and looked at over 5,000 mobile users in eight markets, including the UK, USA, China and Brazil, to find out the impact of trust on the burgeoning internet of things market.

Privacy – or a perceived lack of it – was found to drive the most anxiety around connected devices, with a global average of 62 per cent of consumers saying this was a worry. Individuals in the US and France were the most perturbed about privacy, with 70 and 69 per cent of respondents respectively noting it as a concern. Security was also viewed as a threat, with 54 per cent of those questioned naming it more than twice as often as real-world problems such as physical safety (27 per cent).

When it came to application of connected products home security was the issue most consumers had the greatest concern about at 30 per cent, a figure that comes as brands like as brands like Samsung, Amazon and Mastercard increasingly talk up the importance of smart homes. A quarter (24 per cent) considered health-related information as the most sensitive data.

Despite the concerns, a recent forecast from Gartner has predicted that 6.4bn connected things will be in use globally by 2016, up 30 per cent from 2015. This figure is set to reach 20.8bn by 2020.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

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