Most users don’t trust app developers with their data

Research by ISACA shows that, of 1,000 employed consumers surveyed in the UK, only 4% named the makers of their mobile phone apps as the entity they most trust with their personal data. Yet, 90% don’t always read privacy policies before downloading apps to their devices.

This apparent gap between belief and behavior is likely to matter even more in the future, as consumers use mobile apps to interface with everyday objects that increasingly share data via the Internet.

The term Internet of Things refers to machines, devices, sensors, cars, cameras and other items that are connected to the Internet and often to each other. It is estimated that there will be 50 billion connected devices that make up the Internet of Things by the year 2020.

ISACA’s IT Risk/Reward Barometer examines the risks and rewards of key trends, including the Internet of Things, Big Data and BYOD. The Barometer consists of two components:

  • A survey of 2,013 IT professionals and ISACA members from around the world
  • A survey of more than 4,000 consumers in four countries, including 1,000 in the UK.

IT professionals worldwide say the benefits of the Internet of Things are many. In fact, about half (51%) of institutions have plans to capitalise on the Internet of Things and 31% say their enterprises already have benefited from the increased access to information it provides. More than half say they hope to achieve greater efficiency and increased customer satisfaction as a result of the Internet of Things.

“As organisations embrace technologies whose success depends on collecting and sharing data, they need to proceed with the consumer at the forefront of their decisions. Clearly, consumers have mixed feelings about how connected devices are sharing information, so businesses need to establish policies and communicate them openly to preserve trust in information,” said Ramsés Gallego, international vice president of ISACA and security strategist and evangelist at Dell Software.

While 86% of UK consumers expressed concerns about the Internet of Things, half of IT professionals (50%) believe that, for average consumers, the benefit of the Internet of Things outweighs the risk. However, they do not agree with consumers about what the greatest risk is.

Consumers are most concerned about people hacking into their connected devices (24%), but IT professionals surveyed believe consumers should be most concerned about not knowing who has access to the information (44%) or how their information will be used (29%).

“The rapid increase in connectivity, via the Internet of Things, is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, play and behave. What this survey clearly shows is the shift in perception about risk and privacy as the world becomes increasingly connected,” said Gallego.

“Consumers need to understand the personal implications of allowing applications to access our personal data on mobile devices. We need to check the terms and conditions, not only for what they allow in the present, but also for what our permissions might grant them the ability to do in the future. There are many benefits to using apps, but we need to ask ourselves what level of risk we are willing to accept for the benefits they provide,” he added.

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