Americans Prefer Smart Devices For Fuzz Alerts

According to the 2017 Unisys Security Index survey, a majority of Americans have no problem sharing personal data with police or healthcare providers via smart devices. However, acceptance levels depend on who collects data, why data is collected, and how it will be used.


It seems to be common sense to share personal medical information with a healthcare provider, particularly in those cases where one has a chronic condition or disease that requires frequent monitoring. This could be a life-saving proposition.


First off, why would an individual ever have to share personal information with the police? If one has any type of criminal record, the police already have the information they need. Second, how often does the average, or any other type person, need to call the police in their lifetime? It’s not like you can open an account with a username and password to contact the fuzz. There’s a rumor out there that dialing 911 seems to work very well. But let’s look at the survey results

US Survey Says


According to Unisys, 84% of Americans support using a button on their phones or smartwatches to alert police to their location during emergencies. On the other hand, just 32% support police being able to monitor fitness tracker data to determine their location. Fitness is healthcare, let the healthcare provider do the tracking if the wearer so desires. The police do not need to know if you are out for a run, walk, or waddle.


 More than 75% of respondents support Safe Cities technologies ranging from sensors that can automatically detect harmful chemicals or radiation to sensors that can determine where and when a gun has been fired and automatically notify police. That makes sense unless you live next to chemical plant or on a rifle range.


The survey finds 77% of respondents would feel safer with the deployment of both video surveillance systems that can detect suspicious behavior and automatically notify police. We have half of that now. There is no place in a major city or its outer urban boroughs without video surveillance everywhere. And the places where coverage is thin, there’s always at least 60 or 70 people loitering about taking video of everything with their smartphones. Unfortunately, they usually keep taking video when tragic events unfold rather than notifying the proper authorities.

Logically, 78% support the ability of medical devices such as pacemakers or blood sugar sensors to immediately transmit significant changes to a doctor. Again, if one has a dangerous condition, this makes an awful lot of sense. Of course, if one’s healthcare provider or doctor is one of those 60 or 70 people loitering about taking video of everything with their smartphones, one might have a problem.


Last, and probably least, just one in three respondents (36%) like the idea of health insurers accessing fitness tracker data to determine a premium or reward customers for good behavior. The amount of running, walking, or waddling a person does is not always an indicator of a person’s good or bad health and insurers and other agencies should not be parental role models that offer rewards and punishments for good or bad behavior.


Travel and banking are two other areas the survey addresses. It found 70% of respondents support the use of sensors in luggage that communicate with an airport's baggage management system and an app on mobile phones to tell them when their luggage has been unloaded and on what carousel it will be. They were equally divided, 40% for and 40% against, on the use of a smartwatch app to make credit card payments and do banking.


Respondents who did not support IoT applications claimed they did not want various organizations to obtain information about them. Also, many said they did not see a compelling need for the organizations to obtain the data. That’s more of the kind of sound reasoning consumers need to acquire.


Top Concerns


Once again, regardless of their other responses, the biggest concern amongst all respondents was security. Close to half of those not supporting the use of a smartwatch app from a bank or credit card company were most worried about the security transactions.

Asked about hackers and other intruders, more than 90% of respondents voiced concern about the security of transactions using mobile devices or a computer. Yet another security concern, respondents fear the possibility of hackers or malicious intruders gaining access to internet-connected medical devices such as defibrillators, pacemakers, or insulin pumps.


A Not So Novel Concept


One idea these surveys never really address is one that could be the greatest threat to personal privacy on the internet and beyond. It’s a simple concept, perhaps a disease or mental disorder that, in the past, seemed more prevalent amongst royalty and leaders of countries and various groups. It’s a self-explanatory concept called the “fear of anonymity.”


 The results of this survey seem to be contradictory to the behavior many people exhibit. The constant ‘selfie’ taking and posting of same along with reams of personal information to social media does not exemplify a concern with privacy. Judging by the amount of people behaving in this manner and the frequency or their actions, one can’t help thinking that they believe their behavior will ensure some sort of fame or just some c-level celebrity status.


Unfortunately, this just reassures a smaller, saner public that the internet will not be revealing the next Bach, Picasso, Stravinsky, Madame Curie, Rembrandt, etc., anytime soon and there are very many people going about with their security pants down. If you need more details about the survey, they are available on the Unisys website. ~MD