Mobile users want control over who they share their personal details with, according to research commissioned by the mobile industry body GMSA.
After asking more than 4,000 users in Singapore, Spain and the UK, the GSMA concluded that privacy was a key concern for users when they were using apps and services.
The finding is a sequel to widespread reports that smartphones, network operators and apps developers track the physical location and online behaviour of smartphone owners.
Key areas of user concern were behavioural advertising, location-based services (LBS), mobile applications and third-party sharing.
The research found:
• 50% of users were concerned about sharing their personal information while using the mobile internet or mobile applications.
• 81% felt it was very important to safeguard their personal information
• 76% said they were very selective about to whom they gave their information
• 89% wanted to know when personal information was shared by an application and wanted to be able to turn this off or on
• 89% wanted the option to give permission for personal information to be used by third parties
• 78% did not want third parties to have access to the location of their mobile without permission
• 74% wanted to be told if their personal information was collected to target them with offers or promotions
• 92% worried about applications that collected personal information without their consent
• 79% wanted to know when and what type of personal information was collected.
• 70% of users liked practical services such as maps and weather
• 79% wanted the choice whether to receive location-based advertising
• 86% wanted to be able to turn on or off LBS promotions or advertising
• 60% knew about behavioural advertising. Some 35% found it valuable, but 84% wanted to choose to receive behavioural advertising based on their browsing history
• 81% did not want to get behavioural advertising without their consent.
In January the GSMA published its mobile privacy principles, which described how mobile consumers’ privacy should be respected and protected.
GSMA’s chief regulatory officer Tom Phillips said the results showed it was ‘imperative’ to find ways to strengthen consumer confidence and trust.
‘This is achieved by giving users meaningful transparency, choice and control over how their personal information is used,’ he said.
The research showed that privacy concerns can discourage consumers from going online while mobile. But it also revealed that users valued the services and the opportunities they brought.
Phillips said the GSMA was pursuing ideas of designing for privacy and trust via its Mobile Privacy Initiative launched earlier this year.