UK consumers fear Internet of Things will lead to Big Brother-style surveillance

UK consumers are concerned that technology is dominating their lives, with many alarmed by the increasing levels of surveillance in everyday life.

KPMG surveyed more than 1,600 UK consumers to identify their attitudes toward the Internet of Things (IoT), where multiple devices are connected to each other online.

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58 per cent of respondents resent the fact that computers run their lives, with 70 per cent concerned that the rise of inter-connected devices will increase the likelihood of something going wrong.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the rise of ever-more technologically advanced mobile devices, many wish for a return to "simple" technology, with just over half of those surveyed wanting their phones to just make calls.

However, the research did reveal that consumers appreciate smart appliances when they provide a genuine benefit. 48 per cent acknowledged that smart meters were useful for saving energy and money, for example, but felt the development of smart fridges and similar products was unnecessary.

Mark Thompson, a senior manager at KPMG, explained the reason for the increasing number of technology concerns.

"Security and privacy are high on the list of worries for the consumer with 62 per cent believing that there is insufficient concern about it," he said.

In fact, many respondents questioned how their personal privacy could be maintained if IoT devices were located all around the house, with 56 per cent of those polled worried about a "Big Brother" effect.

Read more: Who will control the new world of the Internet of Things?

Wil Rockall, a director in KPMG's Cyber Security practice highlighted the ambivalent relationship many consumers have toward the Internet of Things.

"It is clear that consumers are struggling with a desire to use connected devices as a route towards an easier life, but they remain wary of the rise of the machine."