MEF, the mobile global trade association, have released the results of their first Global Privacy Report. The ten country study of 9,500 respondents, was carried out in partnership with On Device Research, to understand global consumer perceptions of apps that gather and use personal data, such as address book information and location.
The report looks in detail at one of the most critical components of trust: privacy. The use and misuse of personal information is nothing new, but the rapid take-up of smartphones makes personal information even more valuable. It can be used to the benefit of everyone – for example, consumers accessing free content or creating hyper-tailored ads – or it can be exploited, hijacked or stolen.
It’s vital that the mobile industry considers consumers’ interests in the Big Data Revolution and understands consumers’ attitudes to privacy. What they need; their perceptions; what they will and won’t stand for.
Building trust is the most cost-effective way to grow a sustainable business in a market where thousands of apps jostle for space. This is not about compliance: rather delivering trusted apps as a key product and marketing attribute where only trusted brands will prosper.
The report identified:
The report analyses four key factors of privacy:
Consumers understand the impact of mobile apps on their privacy. They want app providers to be transparent, when it comes to the use of their personal information, so they can make an informed decision about whether to download the app.
Consumers are either choosing to ignore apps until such time as they can trust them not to share their personal information, or more worryingly they are engaging with apps not knowing that the app is sharing information without their permission.
Security is a broad topic and clearly has a key impact on consumer trust. This survey asked consumers about security in relation to privacy. In this context, consumer perceptions fair well. Most mobile users trust app providers to safely protect their personal information.
In reality it is unlikely consumers are able to control the way companies use their personal information, or if they can, it is likely few will understand how to exercise control. This means there is a gap between the power they think they have, and what they are actually able to do. This paves the way for a possible ‘wake-up call’ that will dent trust further.
The report is part of MEF’s on-going activities to champion and advance Consumer Trust in the mobile industry. This was formalised last year with the launch of the Privacy in Mobile Applications Initiative, whose 17 member companies Working Group has a remit to establish industry wide best practice, across the mobile value-chain built on the consumer’s informed consent.
You can download the full report here