CES is now in full swing, and the tech and electronics forecasting is flowing—along with some calls to action for consumer caution. Research released at the Vegas event from BlackBerry reveals a red flag about attitudes and behaviors toward security, trust and privacy, particularly when it comes to purchasing and using smart, connected “things” like cars, drones, health monitors, TVs, security cameras, smart speakers and more.

Conducted in the past 30 days, the survey found that approximately 80 percent of respondents in the U.S., UK 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, in a news release. “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 percent) 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 percent of respondents were willing to pay up to 20 percent more, where the majority preferred 10 percent 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 percent (approximately $7,000).

Mixed reaction to voice assistants in the car

When asked which voice assistant they would trust the most in a car, Google (25 percent) was chosen the most, followed by Apple’s Siri (19 percent), Amazon’s Alexa (16 percent), Microsoft’s Cortana (5 percent) and IBM’s Watson (3 percent). That being said, 32 percent of respondents selected ‘none of the above,’ with most votes coming from people over the age of 54. Notably, only 20 percent of millennials chose ‘none of the above.’

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 percent of those surveyed said they do not restrict the data they allow their Internet-connected device to access through features or apps, and 17 percent admitted that they don’t know how to restrict the data.

In addition, more than one-third (36 percent) 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 percent of respondents from each country admitting they did not know what security certifications to look for, compared to 32 percent of Americans.

BlackBerry Survey Finds Consumers Don’t Trust Connected Devices to Keep Data Safe and Secure

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. 

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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