Skip to main content

National Science and Media Museum

Museum asks if there should be greater regulation of internet connected devices

As the National Science and Media Museum prepares for the launch of its new exhibition Never Alone, it reveals the results of a survey of 2,000 people across the UK on various aspects of the ‘Internet of Things’.

  • More than two-thirds of respondents in Yorkshire and the Humber believe there should be greater regulation
  • More than a fifth would connect themselves to the internet if possible
  • Results released on the day new exhibition opens exploring the ‘Internet of Things’

On the day the National Science and Media Museum opens a new exhibition exploring internet connected devices, a survey of 2,000 people aged 16 and over reveals that more than two-thirds of respondents living in Yorkshire and the Humber believe there should be more regulation of these devices in relation to issues such as data protection, age restrictions and online security.

73% of respondents in Yorkshire and the Humber (compared to 72% nationally) agreed there should be greater regulation, 10% (11% nationally) said they did not think greater regulation was required, and 17% (compared to 17% nationally) said they didn’t know if there should be more.

The survey results are revealed as the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford opens its new free-to-enter exhibition Never Alone: What happens when everything is connected? (16 November 2018 – 3 February 2019), which examines the recent proliferation of smart objects and connected devices. From the humble webcam to children’s toys, there is a growing list of connected items found in the home. It is estimated that more than 8 billion devices can now be found in households across the globe—more than the number of people on Earth.

The questionnaire, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of the museum, revealed that from those surveyed nationally it is households with teenagers aged 13–17 years old that are the most likely to have more than 10 internet connected devices, including computers, phones, smart speakers, smart watches, home controls and toys. 16% of UK respondents’ households with teenagers had more than 10 devices, compared to 7% of all those questioned. In Yorkshire and the Humber, 7% of respondents also had more than 10 devices in their homes.

Other questions asked included whether manufacturers are doing enough to make their devices as secure as possible. In Yorkshire and the Humber 37% of respondents believe they are (40% nationally), 31% said ‘no’ (compared to 29% nationally) and 32% said ‘I don’t know’ (31% nationally).

Asked ‘If it were proved to be medically safe, would you have an implant that directly connects your brain to the internet?’, 21% of respondents in Yorkshire and the Humber said ‘yes’, compared to 20% nationally who said they would.

Dr Sarah Rawlins, content developer for the Never Alone exhibition, said:

“People seem to be aware of issues around internet connected devices, particularly on the question of regulation. However, whatever the concerns, they do not seem to be stopping connected devices being increasingly used.

“In Never Alone we look at some of these issues, exploring the benefits and also potential consequences, as this technology becomes more and more prevalent in everyday life.”

Further information on Never Alone

ENDS

*2,000 people were surveyed nationwide by Censuswide on Wednesday 31 October and Thursday 1 November 2018.

Notes for editors

For interviews, images, and any other requests please contact Phil Oates phil.oates@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk / 01274 203 317

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to the Wonderlab gallery, three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen, and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.