71% of app users want more privacy-related information

If developers had any lingering doubts about the need for improved mobile app transparency, research from the Mobile Entertainment Forum proves how far the industry has to go in establishing trust around how their personal privacy is handled by apps. The MEF worked with AVG Technologies and On Device Group to conduct Global Privacy Survey 2013, which gathered responses from more than 9,500 people across 10 countries.

  • 71 percent say it's important they know how their personal details are shared, and 70 percent want to know exactly what's being collected.
  • Perhaps because many developers aren't handling privacy well, less than half (37 percent) said they were comfortable sharing data with an app.
  • 18 percent lack confidence that their personal information is protected, suggesting privacy and security are perceived very differently.
  • Overall, young men show less concern over privacy than women or older consumers.
  • Globally, countries least comfortable sharing personal information include Brazil, Mexico and South Africa

"Building trust is the most cost-effective way to grow a sustainable business in a market where thousands of apps jostle for space," the report says. "This is not about compliance: rather delivering trusted apps as a key product and marketing attribute where only trusted brands will prosper."

App Info

Source: Global Privacy Survey 2013

The data from the MEF report should reinforce the message that has been put forward both at the state level by the Attorney General of California as well as the ongoing consultations being conducted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) among a variety of stakeholders. Smartphone and app use may be exploding, but as it does a growing number of consumers are realizing they don't know exactly what they're getting into when they click on the word "install." That may change over time as guidelines are issued by government, but also as app use matures. The fact that North Americans males (ie., the early adopters) showed fewer concerns in the MEF study may be proof of this.

The best news from the survey may be that people have faith developers won't get hacked and lose their personal data. That's one layer of trust. The next is about ensuring developers clearly state how they will use information in ways that are both relevant and responsible.  

For more:
- read the executive summary

Related articles:
APPS Act implications: What developers should know about user privacy, consent
FTC fines Path $800,000 for privacy breach, issues new mobile guidelines
Mobile app privacy draft bill would let users delete stored data

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