The world is becoming more and more digital and with it the mountains of data that we generate are constantly growing. Many people are aware of the sensitivity of this data and make use of their privacy options when dealing with digital hardware and software. A survey conducted by Censuswide for Germany and several other EU countries found out exactly how many and what is important to smart home users when it comes to their privacy.
"In fact, many of these issues are rated relatively highly in Germany compared to other countries," says Dave Ward, general manager for Europe at doorbell manufacturer Ring, who commissioned the study. A total of 88 percent of Germans stated in the representative study that they use the data protection functions of their devices. In France (85 percent) and the Netherlands (83 percent) there are slightly fewer people, while in Great Britain (67 percent) there is a comparatively lax approach to the sensitive topic.
The study shows that the topic of data security is gaining in importance. In 2021, 42 percent of those surveyed said they still made use of the data protection functions of their smart home devices. For Ward, the reasons for the heightened sensitivity are obvious: "38 percent of those surveyed indicated that their data protection had been compromised in the past year, either by an external email hack, a password leak or unauthorized disclosure of information to a third party ."
In order to be able to adequately counter such attacks, control over data protection is particularly important, says Ward: "The more customers know about how they can protect themselves and their data, the more self-confident they are." The survey also reflects the fact that consumers are responsible for handling their own data. 61 percent of those surveyed stated that they saw themselves primarily as responsible for their data security, in 2021 only 49 percent saw it that way.
Just over half of respondents (55 percent) also say they know more about the privacy features of their devices today than they did two years ago. Nevertheless, almost two-thirds of the survey participants (63 percent) still see room for improvement and think they could be better positioned when it comes to data protection.
According to the survey, Germans are most concerned about the security of their data when shopping online (41 percent) and on social media platforms (37 percent). Smart home devices and the e-mail inbox fare relatively well at 24 percent. So that the German survey participants are much less anxious than those surveyed from other nations: 63 percent of the French have security concerns when shopping online, in Great Britain it is around every second person (53 percent).
According to the survey, consumers have a clear wish for the manufacturers of smart home products to be on the safe side when it comes to data protection: 53 percent would like the devices to be configured with the highest security settings ex works. After all: A clear majority (92 percent) agrees with the comprehensibility and with instructions and explanations.