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MEF Report Shows Privacy and Security Concerns on the Increase

David Murphy

Privacy Trust Allow Location

The report highlights the extent to which consumers are wary about sharing data via the apps they use

Mobile trade body MEF has unveiled the results of its Global Consumer Trust Report in association with AVG Technologies at CES. The third annual report looked at the attitudes and behaviours relating to the privacy and security of over 5,000 mobile media users in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the UK and the US.

The report reveals that 36 per cent of consumers are wary of downloading and using more mobile apps and services due to privacy and security concerns. In fact, the fourth consecutive year, trust remains the biggest barrier to growth across the mobile ecosystem, with more than 52 per cent of respondents in the eight countries studied deleting apps that worried them; 38 per cent stopping using them altogether; and 21 per cent leaving negative reviews or warning friends.

In addition, the number of mobile users who are comfortable with the idea of sharing personal information with app and mobile service providers has fallen. In 2013, 21 per cent of those studied said they were always happy to share personal data with an app. In the latest study, this has fallen to just 6 per cent. Whereas the number of ‘reluctant sharers’ who do not wish to share personal information but know they must if they want to use the app leapt jumped from 33 per cent last year to 41 per cent in this year’s study.

Significantly, almost half (47 per cent) said they would pay extra for apps which guaranteed that the data collected would not be shared with third parties, with 17 per cent willing to pay a premium of more than 10 per cent to ensure their data is protected.

When it comes to device security, 23 per cent of mobile users who secure their device now use more than one method of protection, with the use of biometrics increasing from 7 per cent to 11 per cent year-on-year. However, 21 per cent of the study’s respondents still take no action to secure their device, suggesting consumer awareness still has some way to go.

“MEF’s 4th Global Consumer Trust Report highlights the significant consequences of consumers’ growing concerns around data privacy and security on the mobile ecosystem,” said MEF CEO, Rimma Perelmuter. “Behavioral trends among consumers such as deleting apps or ceasing to use apps already downloaded are clear indicators that the industry has to do more to build a sustained and trusted relationship with consumers. With 41 per cent of mobile users identified as ‘reluctant sharers’ of their personal data, the MEF Report is a wake-up call to the mobile industry to collaborate and do more to instil transparency and consumer trust in mobile services.”

Harvey Anderson, chief legal officer for AVG Technologies, said the industry must cooperate to go beyond simply being ‘good enough’ at protecting customers. “Transparency and education need to go hand-in-hand with an industry-wide commitment to establish and hold each other to human-centered principles,” said Anderson. “People should not have to trade privacy and security to benefit from the wealth of data-enabled services that are available now and on the horizon, and it is up to us to create the right future.”

There’s more information about the report here.