Consumers are now exposed to significant risks because of their reliance on internet-connected software and devices. This reliance is only likely to grow with adoption of Internet of Things solutions and 5G networking.
We hear daily about new major cases of identity theft, financial crime, and other forms of attacks or malicious interference. Just recently, we learned about hackers taking over a software update server of one of the major hardware manufacturers, which allowed the attackers to install backdoors in thousands of computers. What made it worse was that, according to press reports, the manufacturer did not react promptly when informed by security researchers, thus allowing attacks to continue. On the other hand, some governments aim to establish methods of user-unauthorised access to individual data (eg. by putting pressure on manufacturers to include backdoors in their devices), thus undermining security of digital products and services.
Such incidents are evidence that consumer data security, and thus also consumer privacy, are not being taken with sufficient seriousness. Some manufacturers and software developers tend to be mostly concerned about low prices and those aspects of their products that consumers immediately appreciate. However, they should be reminded that consumers also have strong interests in privacy and data security. We believe that there is a need for a smart policy response, that would incentivise market players to give sufficient weight to consumer data security but also achieve that goal without undue market distortions and limiting of consumer choice.
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