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Brief Published: 14 Jun 2017

Security vs Connectivity: The Future of the IoT

Despite security concerns associated with the Internet of Things, 85% of global experts believe most people will move more deeply into connected life in the future

The Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center have this month published The Internet of Things Connectivity Binge: What Are the Implications? The paper surveyed 1,201 global technologists, scholars, practitioners and strategic thinkers about whether security vulnerabilities would prompt people, businesses and government to avoid or withdraw from certain online connectivity options. Highlights include:

  • Craving Connections: Despite security concerns associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), 85% of respondents believe that most people will move more deeply into connected life in the future, while just 15% think significant numbers will disconnect. 
    “People have a deep need and desire to connect. I see no evidence for a reversal of that trend,” said Peter Morville, president of Semantic Studios, a Michigan-based information architecture and user-experience consulting firm. “The stickiness and value of a connected life will be far too strong for a significant number of people to have the will or means to disconnect,” added an anonymous respondent.
  • Unplugging Isn’t Easy: Unplugging will continue to grow more difficult due to the invisible, embedded nature of the IoT, as well as the potential social and professional disadvantages for those who unplug.
  • Risky Business: Respondents also felt that while the IoT today amplifies security and privacy issues, risk-mitigation strategies will move to make the IoT safer in the future. Many urged governments to do more to regulate negligent companies and punish ‘bad actors’. 

For more, see Tech for a Divided Society: DLD 2017.

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