Consumers willing to accept the value of IoT despite wafer-thin trust in companies’ data policies

New research from Cisco has explored the pay-off required between value and trust for the Internet of Things (IoT); consumers recognise the value they provide, but are less sure about how their data is being managed and used.

The survey, which polled 3000 consumers, argues that while users are willing to trade value for trust, it is being done increasingly reluctantly – and companies who can solve the transparency issue are set to be welcomed with open arms.

When it comes to value, more than half (53%) of those polled say the IoT makes their lives more convenient, while efficiency (47%) and safety (34%) were also popular responses. On the flip side, only 9% of respondents say they completely trusted that their data was secure when collected and shared through IoT. A similarly meagre number (14%) added that companies do a good job of informing them about their data collecting habits.

Cisco argues that organisations should take three steps if they are concerned: establish a clear, concise data policy and share it with users; take granular control of data; and create accountability throughout the IoT value chain.

“As more companies build their businesses around IoT services, they need to first understand the importance of educating customers on how they are using their data to deliver new, valuable services that will enhance their lives,” said Macario Namie, Cisco head of IoT strategy in a statement. “Consumers are asking for more visibility into IoT data practices, and to increase transparency around your IoT data governance and management, you first need to be able to determine who gets what data, where and when.

“Today’s IoT platforms solve this problem and can give you the ability to enhance consumer confidence and trust, which can lead to greater adoption of your IoT services,” added Namie.

The research also gave interesting insights into consumers’ perceptions of the Internet of Things (IoT). While many in the industry will be aware of how street lighting and traffic systems will – if all goes to plan – be connected with each other, only 27% of respondents in the Cisco survey knew this; a number which pales compared to the 63% who were able to identify personal devices, such as wearables and home security systems, as IoT-related.

You can find out more about the study here (email required).

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How personalized data is quickly improving customer experiences


If “the customer is always right” is the golden rule of customer service, then “treat each customer as an individual” should be the golden rule for brand marketing. Every consumer wants to feel as though the brands they support view them as a unique entity, rather than another customer identification number. For years, brands were able to get by delivering mass communications and services to their buyers, but those days are gone. Today’s consumers want assurance that brands hear their unique voices, consider their original feedback, and deliver products and services that are tailored to their personal lifestyle needs. Thanks…

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The Next Web

Personal Data of 31 Million Users Leaked from Popular Keyboard App

Security researchers have discovered that personal data belonging to over 31 million users of a popular keyboard app was leaked online, according to a new report.

The massive leak was first discovered by the Kromtech Security Center, who found that they were able to access a database containing the sensitive information of 31,293,959 users of keyboard app Ai.Type. Reportedly, the app’s developers failed to secure the database’s server with a password, allowing anyone to easily access the user records.

What Information Was Leaked?

The sensitive information included a user’s full name, email address, SMS number, device name and model, mobile network name, and IMEI number, as well as a user’s precise location and city and country of residence. The database also seemed to contain information from a user’s public social media profiles, including their birthdates and their profile pictures.

All in all, Kromtech’s researchers were able to unearth about 577 gigabytes of user records. Reportedly, the database seemed to have contained mostly information on the app’s Android users — though reports are conflicting.

Ai.Type is a customizable keyboard app for Android and iOS boasting about 40 million users worldwide. When installed on a device, the app asks for “Full Access” — which includes absolutely any information or keystrokes typed through the keyboard. According to ZDNet, there’s evidence that the company had also recorded and stored text entered into the keyboard — though to an unclear extent.

The app also seems to have recorded data stored locally on a user’s device — such as their contacts’ emails and phone numbers. According to Kromtech, researchers found that 6.4 million users had had their contacts data collected, which amounted to 10.7 million email addresses and 376.4 million phone numbers within the records.

Ai.Type, for its part, tells a slightly different narrative. The company’s CEO, Eitan Fitusi, told the BBC that the stolen information was a “secondary database,” that IMEI data was never collected, and that the location data wasn’t “accurate.” Ai.Type did not deny that the database was publicly available for a period of time, but added that it has since been secured.

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[FYI] For some, mobile data is now set to “always active” by default in Android Oreo

Android O contains plenty of power-saving improvements for the platform. But it would appear that at least one of the changes won’t be improving your battery life. For some users, on updating to Android Oreo (8.0 or 8.1), “mobile data always active” in Developer options will be enabled. While that will make switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data faster, it may also consume a bit more power.  

Our own Artem noticed it enabled on his device although he hadn’t flipped that switch himself.

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[FYI] For some, mobile data is now set to “always active” by default in Android Oreo was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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