IoT privacy in New Zealand: What CIOs need to know

Early adopters are nervous about what companies may do with their data. Although the new Privacy Act may allay some fears, other issues continue to cause concern, a study shows.

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Consumer adoption of internet of things (IoT) devices is at its infancy in New Zealand, but as usage grows, attitudes to privacy will help inform the technical roadmaps that local CIOs will create and deploy.

Erika Pearson and Esther Jaspers of Massey University researched New Zealand consumer behaviour as it relates to IoT devices, as part of a Privacy Good Grant from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Their paper ‘Domestic Internet of Things: Aotearoa New Zealanders’ Privacy Concerns and Behaviours’ was released at the NetHui conference recently, and many of its findings and recommendations have direct application for corporations looking to create consumer IoT applications.

The study is based on a survey of 930 New Zealanders aged between 16 and 87 years, with 12 in-depth interviews with early adopters of IoT devices. Of those surveyed, only 397 people owned any IoT devices, and these users were “younger, more frequently male, more highly educated, and had higher incomes compared to nonusers.”

Government’s role in protecting data privacy

While the survey shows that users believe companies pose more of a threat to people’s privacy in the collection of data than the government, “the state is viewed as an important monitoring force in relation to global information flows.”

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