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Consumers don’t trust internet connected devices

09 January 2019

BLACKBERRY LIMITED has announced new survey findings on consumer attitudes and behaviours toward security, trust and privacy, particularly when it comes to purchasing and using smart, connected ‘things’ which includes cars, drones, health monitors, TVs, security cameras, smart speakers and more.

Conducted in the past 30 days, the survey commissioned by BlackBerry found that approximately 80% of respondents in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada do not trust their current Internet-connected devices to secure their data and privacy. Additionally, when asked about future purchases, respondents said they were more likely to choose a product or do business with a company that had a strong reputation for data security and privacy, and would support a “Seal” or “Stamp of Approval” to demonstrate which Internet-connected devices achieve a certain standard of security.

“This survey shows there is a real opportunity for companies to differentiate their products by providing a higher level of security and data privacy,” said Mark Wilson, chief marketing officer at BlackBerry. “Similar to the rise in demand for organic food and sustainable goods, we believe that educated consumers – many who have been victims of cyberattacks and uninvited use of personal data – will help drive the private and public sectors to align on a safety and security standard.”

Willingness to pay for security

More than half of the respondents (58%) said they would be willing to pay more for Internet-connected products such as Alexa-speakers, home security products, wearables, and more if they know their data and privacy is protected. When asked how much more, 10% of respondents were willing to pay up to 20% more, where the majority preferred 10% or less.

When it comes to connected cars, the majority also stated they would pay more to know their vehicle used the highest safety and security software. According to Kelley Blue Book, the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States was $35,742 in September 2018, which means the 23% of respondents that said they would pay up to five percent more for their car to use safe and secure software would spend an additional $1,700 at the dealership. Ten percent of respondents were willing to pay up to 20% (approximately $7,000).

Security practice and knowledge gap remains

While consumers say they are concerned about security and use it to evaluate products before purchasing, the study also highlights there is a disconnect between these concerns and the current usage of certain technologies. For example, 23% of those surveyed said they do not restrict the data they allow their Internet-connected device to access through features or apps, and 17% admitted that they don’t know how to restrict the data.

In addition, more than one-third (36%) of those surveyed admitted to not knowing what security certifications to look for when purchasing an Internet-connected device. This was even more profound for respondents from Canada and the United Kingdom, with 41% of respondents from each country admitting they did not know what security certifications to look for, compared to 32% of Americans.

Research methodology

BlackBerry commissioned Atomik Research to run an online survey of 4,010 adults in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The fieldwork took place between December 11 and 12, 2018.