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A Longitudinal Analysis of the Public Perception of the Opportunities and Challenges of the Internet of Things

Arkaitz Zubiaga, Rob Procter, Carsten Maple

PLOS ONE. 2018.

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The Internet of Things (or IoT), which enables the networked interconnection of everyday objects, is becoming increasingly popular in many aspects of our lives ranging from entertainment to health care. While the IoT brings a set of invaluable advantages and opportunities with it, there is also evidence of numerous challenges that are yet to be resolved. This is certainly the case with regard to ensuring the cyber security of the IoT, and there are various examples of devices being hacked. Despite this evidence, little is known about the public perceptions of the opportunities and challenges presented by the IoT. To advance research in this direction, we mined the social media platform Twitter to learn about public opinion about the IoT. Analysing a longitudinal dataset of more than 6.7 million tweets, we reveal insights into public perceptions of the IoT, identifying big data analytics as the most positive aspect, whereas security issues are the main public concern on the negative side. Our study serves to highlight the importance of keeping IoT devices secure, and remind manufacturers that it is a concern that remains unresolved, at least insofar as the public believes.