The GSMA has announced the results of a study about privacy issues on mobile devices. It contacted more than 4,000 mobile phone users in Singapore, Spain and the UK to find out how concerned they were about privacy and how this influenced their use of mobile internet services and applications.
Half of all users said they were concerned about sharing their personal information while using the mobile internet or mobile applications, while over three-quarters felt that safeguarding their personal information was very important and were very selective about whom they gave their information to. Behavioural advertising, location-based services, mobile applications and third-party sharing were all highlighted as key areas of concern by the mobile users.
89% said it was important to have the option of giving permission for personal information to be used by third parties, while 74% wanted to be told if their personal information was collected to target them with offers or promotions. In addition, 78% were concerned with third parties having access to the location of their mobile without permission and 86% said it was important to be able to turn location-based advertising on or off.
Over 60% of respondents said they were familiar with behavioural advertising. 35% found it valuable, although 84% said it was important to have a choice whether or not to receive behavioural advertising based on browsing history. 81% were concerned about receiving behavioural advertising without their consent.
Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer at the GSMA, said “The research shows that to realise the full potential of mobile internet services, it is imperative that ways are found to strengthen consumer confidence and trust by giving users meaningful transparency, choice and control over how their personal information is used. The GSMA is committed to working with stakeholders from across the whole mobile ecosystem to help establish effective and consistent privacy experiences for mobile users, and to ensure that privacy is a key consideration of all mobile services. The research shows that providing users with contextually aware prompts and choices, using icons and establishing trust schemes can help address key user privacy concerns and strengthen user confidence. The GSMA is currently pursuing these ideas of designing for privacy and trust via its Mobile Privacy Initiative launched earlier this year, and welcomes dialogue and participation from the broader mobile community.”