Just 15% Of Smartphone Users Trust All Mobile Apps With Personal Info

July 23, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Digital | Mobile Phone | Personalization | Privacy & Security

truste-mobile-app-privacy-trust-july2012.pngOnly 15% of smartphone users trust all mobile applications with their personal information, according to [download page] a survey released in July 2012 by TRUSTe, conducted by Harris Interactive. Instead, mobile app consumers take a variety of steps to protect their personal information: 38% research the app online, and 34% check to see if an app has a privacy policy. 30% will read that privacy policy (if it is provided), and 21% check for a third-party trustmark or seal. 19% will ask friends about trustworthiness.

Only 14% of smartphone users this year believe that their app stores only offer privacy-safe apps. That is down significantly from 25% in 2011, reveals the “2012 US Online and Mobile Privacy Perceptions Report.” Faced with a mobile app they distrust, 85% of smartphone users do not download it, while 8% limits the information they share with the app, 4% limit their usage of the app, and just 3% report they do not change their behavior.

Smartphone Users Uncomfortable Sharing Many Forms of Data

Smartphone users feel safest sharing their gender with mobile apps, with 49% saying they would consent to do so, with age (36%) and email (35%) following. On the other end of the spectrum, just 1% would consent to sharing their list of contacts, 3% their photos and videos, and 5% their home addresses. Only 6% of app users would consent to sharing web-surfing behavior, a key element of online behavioral advertising (OBA), and 58% expressly indicate they do not like OBA. Finally, 28% say they would not consent to sharing any personal data with mobile apps.

University of California-Berkeley researchers in July found a similar reticence about sharing personal contacts. While 82% of mobile owners store contact information on their devices, 81% of device owners would probably (30%) or definitely (51%) not allow social networking applications to mine those contacts for friend suggestions, and 93% would probably (18%) or definitely (75%) not allow a coupons app to mine the list in order to offer coupons to their contacts, per findings.

50% Would Opt Out Of OBA

40% of the TRUSTe survey respondents (in this case, smartphone and online users) report that a targeted ad has made them feel uncomfortable, and 50% opt out of online behavioral advertising (OBA) to manage their privacy (when possible) – almost double the 27% who responded that way in 2011. Some 83% say they are aware of the OBA concept when provided with a written description (up from 70% in 2011), and 53% believe personally identifiable information is attached to browsing behavior.

49% of the respondents said they would be more inclined to click on an ad that gives them the option to opt out of OBA.

Other Findings:

  • 14% of smartphone users are more concerned about privacy on their smartphones than on their computers. 37% have the same level of worry about both devices, while 49% are more concerned about privacy on their computers.
  • 60% of the total sample (smartphone and internet users) feel more concerned about their online privacy today than a year ago.
  • 76% of the total sample do not allow companies to share their personal information with a third party (up from 67% in 2011).
  • 35% say that they have stopped doing business with a company or using their website because of privacy concerns.
  • 90% say they use browser controls to protect privacy, including deleting cookies (up from 84% in 2011).

About The Data: The surveys were conducted online within the US between May 31 and June 6, 2012, by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe. A total of 1,184 total interviews were conducted among US adults 18 and older, including 554 smartphone users ages 18 and older.

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