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Study: Mobile users want more control over data sharing

User concerns tied to behavioral advertising, location-based services and third-party sharing, finds GSMA study of over 4,000 users of mobile Internet and apps.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

Consumers who surf the Web or access apps with mobile devices worry about how their personal data is used and want more control, according to a new study by the GSMA.

The survey of over 4,000 mobile users in Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom found that 8 in 10 indicated safeguarding their personal information was very important, the industry association said in statement Wednesday. Some 76 percent said they were very selective with regard to the parties with which they shared the information.

GSMA noted that key areas of user concern were tied to behavioral advertising, location-based services (LBS), mobile apps and third-party sharing.

Specifically, 92 percent of respondents expressed concern over apps that collected personal information without their consent, while 78 percent were worried about third parties accessing the location of their mobile without prior permission.

The study also revealed that most wanted more control over how mobile apps and services leveraged their private data. For instance, 86 percent found it important to be able to turn LBS promotions or advertising on and off. More than 7 in 10 also wanted to be informed if their personal information was collected to target them with offers or promotions.

"The research shows that to realize the full potential of mobile Internet services, it is imperative that ways are found to strengthen consumer confidence and trust, by giving users meaningful transparency, choice and control over how their personal information is used," said Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer of GSMA.

"Providing users with contextually aware prompts and choices, using icons and establishing trust schemes can help address key user privacy concerns and strengthen user confidence," Phillips added, noting that the organization launched its Mobile Privacy Initiative earlier this year, and was seeking inputs from the broader mobile community in the design of trust and privacy.

The study was conducted by Futuresight between April and June this year. Nearly half of the respondents were U.K.-based, with the rest split between Singapore and Spain.

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