Consumers Say No to Mobile Apps That Grab Too Much Data


study (Sept 12) by the Pew Research Center found that among Americans adults who use smartphone apps, half had decided not to install applications on their mobile phones because they demanded too much personal information. Nearly a third uninstalled an application after learning that it was collecting personal information “they didn’t wish to share.” And one in five turned off location tracking “because they were concerned that other individuals or companies could access that information.” A customer’s whereabouts can be extremely valuable to marketers trying to sell their wares, or government authorities trying to keep tabs on citizens’ movements.

The study seems to suggest a deepening awareness of digital privacy. And it contradicts a common perception that the generation of young Americans who have grown up in the Internet age blithely share their personal details. Mobile phone users between ages 18 and 29 were equally likely to decline an application because of privacy concerns as older Americans, even though the younger group was more likely to use applications in the first place. Nearly half of all those interviewed said they downloaded apps on their phones.

The Pew study also suggested that consumers were taking steps to safeguard their information. Four out of five smartphone owners backed up their data and half cleared their browsing histories.