Internet of Things Companies Need to Ensure Data Protection for Consumers

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
Internet of Things Companies Need to Ensure Data Protection for Consumers
Photo: Microsiervos Geek Crew/Flickr

The HyperCat IoT summit in London gathered industry experts who addressed the issue of consumers’ data ownership and privacy.

Given the steady growth of the Internet of Things, people frequently ask themselves how they will pay for these smart home services.

The HyperCat internet of things Summit, which was held in London on June 8, brought together more than 400 experts in the industry. One of the main topics that dominated the summit was data privacy and ownership of personal information.

Nowadays, a lot of companies, like Facebook, Google, Samsung and many others, do not charge users for using their apps. In exchange of their services people just provide an access to their personal information.

Stephen Pattison, vice president of public affairs at British chip designer ARM, believes people will pay for smart home devices just like they pay for mobile phones.

“What we’ll be looking at in the future is a big company … coming to your door saying they could give you all your white goods – your television, your phone, your tablet, they can do security around your house – and they will charge you rent for that,” he said during his speech.

“It’s a fantastic free service, but they monetise [your] data. The freemium model has created a monster that we’re all quite happy to use,” said Brian Robertson, business development director at Broadcom.

There is now a growing tendency among people towards privacy. According to researchers, the consumers no longer prefer to pay for free services with their personal data. The privacy is considered even more important that the quality of provided services.

At the same time, this tendency leads to another problem- false data. In order to hide their personal information, the users of services provide incorrect data, what causes huge problems for companies using this information.

“I would suggest that that fundamental idea starts to fall to pieces if we find that a high percentage of people that are contributing that data are actually lying in order to get access to that service,” Robertson stated.

IBM fellow Andy Stanford-Clark suggested that companies should be more ethical and ask information which consumers are ready to handle over.

The possible solution to this problem is to give all data to one firm that will serve as a broker. It can be compared with PayPal, which stores your credit card information and send it to merchants when requested.

According to Pattison, companies could provide discounts for those users who reveal their data. “This can be a way in which individuals can realise the benefit of their data,” he noted.

Another possible solution is to pay for such services upfront instead of sharing more data. To use an application, Robertson said, consumers could make small payment, what will help to eliminate the necessity of trading personal information.

Meantime, he noted that privacy protection is the most important thing. “The main principle is we must all accept that consumers own their own data. I think this whole experiment will fail if we don’t get that right,” he added.

“Data is the gold and more attention from governments will be needed. It’s a very difficult debate,” Robertson said.

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Polina Chernykh

Polina is an undergraduate student at Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) where she is studying at the faculty of International Business Communication for a degree specializing in Intercultural Communication. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, music and travelling.

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