Geolocation apps causing new privacy and safety fears for smartphone users

January 27, 2011


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Smartphone users are becoming more concerned about their privacy when using geolocation apps, according to a survey released by Microsoft this week to coincide with Data Privacy Day.

The survey found that users have a host of concerns for their privacy when using location based phone apps  Some 84% of respondents said that they fear such applications could be used to help unknown people steal personal information or identities.

The same number, 84%, also said that they feared that these apps will share their location without their knowledge  or consent while a slightly larger number, 87%, said they were scared that these apps would share their location with people or organisations they do not know.

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Geolocation Privacy concerns, via Microsoft

Apps which use location based services include Facebook Places, FourSquare, Google Maps as well as real-time weather, traffic and local news services, all of which use GPS to locate the user in real time and space.

Brendon Lynch, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer said, “As people use the Internet in new ways and share more of their lives online through multiple devices, privacy needs and concerns have also evolved…some of these technology advances are pushing up against people’s perceptions of what privacy is and how things should be protected.”

Some 83% said that they had general fears for their privacy when using location based apps.
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However, the survey also found that as such fears did not prevent smartphone owners from using these apps  – 94% of respondents say they found them to be valuable with GPS, weather alerts, traffic updates and local listings being the most commonly uses.  Just under 50% of respondents said they would be more comfortable using these apps if they can clearly manage their location infromation.

The  survey of 1,500 people from the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Germany was released to coincide with Data Privacy Day on Friday 28th


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Ajit Jain

Ajit Jain is marketing and sales head at Octal Info Solution, a leading iPhone app development company and offering platform to hire Android app developers for your own app development project. He is available to connect on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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