Data privacy was a central consumer issue in 2019, and looks to remain so through 2020. In January 2019, we launched the Security Industry Consumer Privacy Initiative to proactively address consumer concerns, lay out industry guiding principles and push our industry toward more transparency when it comes to consumer privacy. This is an ongoing effort that we are deeply committed to, and in partnership with other associations and brands in the smart home security space, we aim to provide leadership and guidance in this area to maintain consumer trust and promote responsible data privacy practices within the industry.
In addition to the guidelines, to help ensure that the Consumer Privacy Initiative truly integrates consumer perceptions and concerns, we conducted a survey of 1,280 people to gauge their thoughts on privacy. Below are some key takeaways.
Key Survey Findings
- Ninety-two percent of respondents feel smart home security companies need to take measures to protect customers’ personal data and information. However, while concerns around privacy are high, more than 40% of those surveyed admit they don’t feel knowledgeable on the topic.
- And, despite acknowledging the importance of privacy protocols, most consumers don’t use privacy tools available to them. In fact, fewer than 40% of survey respondents reported having any data privacy measures in place at all.
- The explosion of the smart home device category ushered in scores of new manufacturers and brands that may have put convenience before user privacy. However, the ADT consumer privacy opinion survey revealed consumers are now aware of and concerned about privacy as it relates to smart home devices with the top concerns including hacking (75%) followed by government spying on in-home smart cameras (53%) and audio devices that respond to voice (52%).
- The survey also uncovered that when it comes to how personal information is shared, consumers tend to be more concerned about how governments (89%) and companies (93%) share their personal information than they are about how they share their own personal information on social media (86%).
To help ensure we have the right decision makers in the room to address the issues raised, we’ve partnered with a growing list of major trade associations and leading companies to help support, and co-develop guiding principles for, the Consumer Privacy Initiative. These principles are being developed with the understanding that providers of smart home security products and services must continually earn the trust of their customers by prioritizing their privacy as well as their safety.
The principles will evolve with the changing smart home and security landscape—addressing top-of-mind issues such as facial recognition and analytics. Current areas of focus include:
- Privacy by Design: Consumer privacy should be embedded in all areas of the security industry, and that begins with the design of the products used to protect and connect customers.
- Transparency: Providers of security products and services must spell out in clear and understandable terms how they collect, use, share, and retain sensitive data.
- Handling of Audio and Video: Security providers will only share audio or video with first responders with their customers’ prior consent, or as required by law, and will not otherwise access a customer’s audio or video without the customer’s knowledge.
- Data Correction and Deletion: Security providers will create an easily accessible process for customers to request that personal information collected by that provider be deleted. Customers can also request that data errors be corrected.
- Guidance and Use: Providers of security products and services will equip customers with information that empowers them to use their security products and services in a manner that better enhances everyone’s privacy. This could involve adjusting data collection settings, setup of cameras, or establishing video and audio data retention timeframes that work best for them.
- Accountability: Providers of security products and services will commit to additional accountability measures, such as independent privacy assessments.
In addition to being the leader in smart home security, ADT offers cybersecurity for residential customers with Identity Theft Protection, which provides monitoring and support to help customers minimize their risk of identity theft and loss exposure. ADT also offers cybersecurity solutions for enterprise and small businesses, providing monitored and managed commercial solutions that protect customers from multiple vectors of attack.
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