Nine in Ten UK Consumers Worried About Smart Home Privacy

Over 90% of UK consumers are concerned that their ‘smart home’ data could be hacked and used against them, according to a new study from Intel Security.

The security giant polled 1000 UK adults as part of a global report – Internet of Things and the Smart Home – which compiled the responses of 9000 consumers to better understand their attitudes to security and privacy in a world of embedded technologies.

The device which poses the biggest threat to UK respondents is a “virtual babysitter,” according to the research.

“When it comes to major cybersecurity risks in the smart home, privacy remains top of the agenda,” Intel Security’s EMEA CTO, Raj Samani, told Infosecurity. “As it stands, the privacy attacks that have occurred have been very isolated. However, the threat of devices gathering personal data with questionable approaches on consent is very real.”

He argued that consumers need to voice their concerns more publicly to ensure manufacturers design security and privacy in from the start.

“If we demand products that are built better at preserving our privacy and protecting us, then the manufacturers will have no choice but to do so,” Samani added.

However, while British consumers are clearly concerned about the potential privacy risks associated with the smart home, they also appear to be prepared to share data on their own terms.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) claimed they’d allow companies to access data about their daily habits in return for payment.

In fact, UK adults appear to be more dubious than others around the world about the ability of smart technologies to transform their home life.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) said they don’t believe smart homes will be as commonplace in 2025 as smartphones are today, versus just 23% of global respondents.

Meanwhile, 77% claimed they’d be interested in buying smart technology for the home if they received monetary benefits in return, like tax credits.

That’s not to say UK consumers are completely blind to the benefits of the smart home.

Two-thirds said they thought the technology would help to lower gas and electricity bills, while 36% claimed it could reduce the time spent on household chores. Over a third (36%) said the best thing about living in a smart home would be spending more quality time with the family.

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