The Internet of Things: The Privacy Concerns of an Unregulated industry

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The internet of things (IoT) is made up of hundreds of devices which are embedded with computer technology and web connectivity. The technology used in these objects, which range from smoke detectors to heart rate monitors, are expected to become a part of almost all devices. This according to Gartner, will lead to over 26 billion devices in the internet of things by 2020. Despite this prediction, the industry remains unregulated.

As these devices have grown in popularity, so have their associated privacy concerns. According to TrustE one of the biggest hindrances to the growth of this segment are these privacy concerns. In the firm’s research is was found that 87% of respondents were concerned about the type of personal information collected by smart devices. Furthermore 88% of respondents wanted some control over the use of this data. Despite such concerns the Federal Trade Commission has done little regarding the privacy implications of such devices. While many feel that this is an attempt to not stifle innovation in this new segment, the FTC has acknowledged the IoT is on their radar. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez has said, “I want to ensure that consumers can enjoy the benefits of this new world (of IoT) without sacrificing their privacy.” While the FTC has not had to take action, as this segment continues to grow only time will tell if new regulations emerge.

The segment has also piqued interest in the marketing implications of the IoTs. These devices which are in our homes, on our wrists, and are a part of our most intimate moments provide stunning insights into the minds of consumers. For marketers, these types of insight are the prize.


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