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Privacy Commissioner Slams Industry over IoT Device Secrecy

Some 71 percent of Internet of Things devices marketed in Australia do not provide a privacy policy that adequately explains how the personal information they gather is managed, according to Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.

Pilgrim has released the findings of an international sweep of IoT devices, conducted by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, with his office responsible for the Australian findings. Among them:

Australian businesses have failed to explain how some 71pc of these devices and services work and are managed;

Around 69pc did not adequately explain how customers could delete their information off their devices;

Some 89pc of Australian organisations did not clearly indicate whether there were tools a user could access to delete personal information off the device so they could resell the device; or how they could delete information remotely if the device was lost or stolen.

The 26 privacy enforcement authorities that make up GPEN say they examined the privacy policies of more than 300 businesses around the world, including 45 used by Australian consumers. They included movie streaming devices, fitness trackers, home appliances and children’s toys.

Says Timothy Pilgrim: “The Internet of Things allows for some great products and entertainment, but many of us have adopted this technology into our everyday lives without considering how much of our personal information is being captured or what happens to that information.

“I encourage all Australians to look for privacy policies before you decide to use a device, and ensure you are comfortable with what information is being collected and how it is being managed.”

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