The Public Good and Public Attitudes Toward Data Sharing Through IoT
23 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 7, 2022
The Internet of Things has created a wealth of new data that is expected to deliver important benefits for IoT users and for society, including for the public good. Much of the literature has focused on data collection through individual adoption of IoT devices, and big data collection by companies with accompanying fears of data misuse. While citizens also increasingly produce data as they move about in public spaces, less is known about citizen support for data collection in smart city environments, or for data sharing for a variety of public-regarding purposes. Through a nationally representative survey of over 2,000 respondents as well as interviews, we explore the willingness of citizens to share their data with different parties and in various circumstances, using the contextual integrity framework, the literature on the 'publicness' of organizations, and public value creation. We describe the results of the survey across different uses, for data sharing from devices and for data collection in public spaces. We conduct multivariate regression to predict individual characteristics that influence attitudes toward use of IoT data for public purposes. Across different contexts, from half to 2/3 of survey respondents were willing to share data from their own IoT devices for public benefits, and 80-93% supported the use of sensors in public places for a variety of collective benefits. Yet government is less trusted with this data than other organizations with public purposes, such as universities, nonprofits and health care institutions. Trust in government, among other factors, was significantly related to data sharing and support for smart city data collection. Cultivating trust through transparent and responsible data stewardship will be important for future use of IoT data for public good.
Keywords: Internet of Things, smart cities, data sharing, public good
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