Why The Industry Must Self-Regulate to Ensure Consumer Protection
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Like any new technology or industry, IoT data will produce many benefits to both businesses and consumers. However, until we fully address the challenges ahead, it will make it much more difficult for businesses to ride the next big wave of the digital revolution. Challenges are difficult for a reason, but they also allow us to improve flaws and streamline inefficiencies. In the case of IoT data, we must recognize the first and foremost concern… and that is Privacy and Security.
According to Berg Insight, by 2021, the number of smart homes in North America is expected to grow to 73 million, with the majority of smart homes enabling voice control. Apple and Amazon continue to develop and produce devices that are more advanced and have amazing benefits for consumers. Why is this important? Well, IoT devices, especially the ones we keep in our homes also contain personal and private information. It is vital that our IoT devices remain secure and are equipped to protect consumer privacy from outside threats and industry loopholes. If a device can be activated by our voices, what else does it know or collect? And what type of information are consumers willing to share?
We must understand what type of IoT data is being collected and establish clear cut boundaries to weed out the collection of personal and sensitive consumer data. We need to make sure private conversations are not being recorded but more importantly being used for any marketing purposes. How do we achieve this? The industry must come together and begin to self-regulate in order to start the process for consumer protection. The first step must be to develop a strong privacy regulation framework that is able to evolve to new and rapid growing technologies. This framework must include strict guidelines to ensure ethical and responsible data collection that preserves consumer privacy. That also means providing consumers with Privacy policies that give them the option to opt-in or exclude their data from being shared. We must be clear, concise and transparent to every consumer with a IoT device that collects data.
Consumers have a right to purchase and fully enjoy their IoT devices without worrying about whether their data is being collected without their knowledge. They also have the right to understand exactly how their data will be used for marketing purposes. In order to take the next step forward, we as industry must being to self-regulate to weed out data collection that is irresponsible and unethical. Why these challenges may seem hard, the reality is that we as an industry can come together to create positive change. As long as we can create guidelines to protect consumer privacy, businesses freely leverage new IoT insights to improve their products and ultimately enhance the user experience for every consumer.