Data protection watchdog offers tips on buying smart devices on Black Friday

15 November 2023, 00:04

Mobile phone robberies
Mobile phone robberies. Picture: PA

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a new list of tips for consumers.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has urged the public to think about their data privacy before buying smart tech devices in Black Friday sales.

The data protection regulator has issued a set of tips for shoppers ahead of the online sales event, reminding them to research how different smart devices collect their data before purchasing them.

The tips encourage people to “think before you click” to buy a new smart device, but once they do have it to ensure they regularly install software updates, choose a strong password and “be picky” about who gets access to their personal data.

“We know that consumers want to enjoy the benefits of smart devices but that they also value their privacy in an increasingly connected world,” information commissioner John Edwards said.

“They shouldn’t have to choose between the two. These tips from our tech experts will help consumers to make informed purchases and have more control over how their personal data is being used.”

The ICO’s guidance also encourages people to wipe their old devices before they get rid of them, and request their data be deleted via a device’s settings or by contacting the company behind the device.

Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at consumer group Which? said: “Which? is warning consumers to be wary when shopping for connected tech products this Black Friday.

“Make sure you have researched the product you’re thinking of buying, steer clear of any that have concerning security flaws and check to see how you can control the data the device is able to access or collect.

“Our recent investigation found smart tech firms are collecting more data than they need and burying this important information in lengthy terms and conditions.

“It’s positive that the ICO is looking at updating its guidelines on smart tech privacy and vital that this leads to better protection for consumers against accidentally giving up huge swathes of their own data without realising.”

By Press Association

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