More Consumers Say Privacy – Over Security – is Biggest Concern When Using Mobile Applications on Smartphones
TRUSTe National Poll Shows Mobile Users Want Increased Transparency Regarding Use of Personal Data, More Control and Choice for Mobile and Geo-location Tracking     

San Francisco, Calif. – April 27, 2011 – Today, at both APPNATION and the Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit, TRUSTe, the leading online privacy solutions provider, announced the results of a survey of 1000 smartphone users nationwide on issues relating to privacy and usage of mobile applications and mobile websites. The Q1 2011 online poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, included responses that reveal attitudes and perceptions about mobile privacy; primary areas of concern; as well as current safeguards being implemented.

Nearly all respondents agreed that privacy is an important issue when using a mobile device and that they want more transparency and control over what personal information is collected and how it is shared. In addition, smartphone users want more choices about advertising and geo-location tracking. Thirty-eight percent say privacy is the number one concern when using mobile applications, followed by security (26%); identity tracking (19%); and sharing information with or without permission (14%).

“This survey makes it crystal clear that privacy concerns are a huge stumbling block to consumer usage of applications and websites on smartphones,” said Fran Maier, president and executive chair, TRUSTe. “As growth of the mobile market continues to surge, the industry needs a dedicated approach to educate consumers about how their data is being used and lets them make choices whether or not to engage. Overcoming consumer hesitancy and addressing increased lawmaker and regulator concerns require privacy practices that include notice and choice. TRUSTe is committed to extending those capabilities to the mobile platform.”

Tracking and Behavioral Targeting are Hot Buttons

The survey shows that behavioral advertising is one of the top consumer issues relating to mobile marketing, with a majority being apprehensive about advertising tracking and wanting the choice not to participate. Specifically:

  • An educated 68 percent of respondents indicate being aware of advertisers tracking mobile activity and delivering personalized content as a result; and
  • A significant 85 percent want the choice to opt in or opt out of targeted mobile advertisements; and
  • All said, 74 percent of smartphone users say they do not like advertiser tracking.

While location tracking remains a concern, the survey reveals that some smartphone users do permit access to their whereabouts:

  • Only 36 percent feel they have a choice regarding the collection and use of their location information; and
  • Less than one-third of those surveyed say their smartphone alerts them when location information is being collected. (Note: this is significantly more common for iPhone users.)

Survey Shows Consumers Crave More Control before Fully Trusting Mobile Opportunities:

  • A whopping 98 percent of consumers say having easy access to controls over their personal information in a mobile application is important;
  • Only 38 percent feel confident that mobile applications will protect their privacy;
  • Just 25 percent believe their application store makes available applications that safeguard their privacy;
  • While 90 percent say they have downloaded at least one application for their phone, 85 percent restrict at least some type of information sharing on mobile applications; and
  • Lastly, 40 percent of those surveyed do not use mobile applications or mobile websites that ask for or use their personal information, with 38 percent saying they don’t access their online accounts via mobile devices at all.

    TRUSTe’s independent analysis of the top 340 free mobile applications shows that only 19 percent have a link to a privacy policy, which demonstrates how much work mobile application providers have ahead. In the Harris survey, 51 percent of consumers confirmed that they do look for a privacy policy on mobile applications, with just over one-half indicating having read one.

    “Given the highly personal nature of the mobile phone, privacy remains a top priority for the MMA as we carry out efforts to provide standards and guidelines for marketers,” said Michael Becker, managing director of North America for the Mobile Marketing Association. “The MMA is encouraged by the investment in privacy research, privacy management solutions and standards that many of its members are making. It is the continued implementation of these types of programs that keep consumer best interest in mind for the responsible and sustainable growth of the industry.”

    TRUSTe Trustmark Reassures Mobile Users

    According to the survey, 70 percent of consumers recognize the TRUSTe seal and say the trustmark increases their comfort level.

    TRUSTe offers the industry’s first privacy certification program designed specifically for mobile applications and mobile websites. Companies such as Apartments.com, GoDaddy.com, The Weather Channel, WebMD, and Yelp are enrolled in its TRUSTed Mobile Apps program today – which features a layered privacy notice optimized for mobile devices; an easy-to-read mobile micro seal; and enhanced privacy notices to address unique mobile concerns, such as behavioral tracking and use of geo-location information. 

    "TRUSTe's mobile privacy survey results reaffirm that Go Daddy is exceeding consumers' wishes when it comes to mobile privacy," said Kimberly Cilke, Assistant General Counsel and head privacy counsel for The Go Daddy Group, Inc. "Go Daddy works to keep the Internet safe for everyone, which is why mobile privacy is a top priority. This includes keeping pace with these types of necessary industry benchmarks and becoming an early adopter of TRUSTe's TRUSTed Mobile Apps program."

    For more information about TRUSTe’s privacy certification program and to access resources on mobile privacy please go to /mobile.

    About the Survey

    The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe February 3-17, 2011 among 1000 smartphone users. Results were weighted to reflect the online population of smartphone users. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

    To access TRUSTe’s full survey report, as well as other important resource materials, including a best practices guide on mobile privacy for businesses and consumers, go to www.truste.com/harris-mobile-survey.

    Additionally, on May 5, 2011 at 10am PT, TRUSTe will co-host a webinar with Harris Interactive to present the results of the survey in more detail. Please register at www.truste.com/harris-mobile-webinar/.

    About TRUSTe
    TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across web, mobile, cloud and advertising channels. Our cloud-based Data Privacy Management Platform delivers innovative technology products, including website monitoring and advertising compliance controls – along with privacy assessments and certifications. More than 5,000 companies worldwide, including Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, LinkedIn and Oracle rely on our DPM platform and globally recognized Certified Privacy Seal to protect/enhance their brand, drive user engagement and minimise compliance risk. For more information, please http://www.truste.com.

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.