Majority of consumers believe that more regulation is needed to control the use of location-based data
Most consumers are happy to share data compiled on them while using location based services (LBS) with third parties, according to a new study. However, the majority believe more regulation is required to ensure that data remains secure.
The majority of users (74%) are happy to share their location-based data with third parties, show the results from an independent consumer survey conducted on behalf of Brainstorm and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). Yet most (72%) also believe that companies are not taking adequate steps to ensure the responsible use of location data and that further regulation is needed to ensure its safe usage, with the under 35 age group adopting a more relaxed attitude than the over 35s.
The apparently contradictory findings were revealed in a survey conducted by Lightspeed GMI amongst 1,000 mobile phone users, which sought to examine the public’s attitudes towards the use of LBS. While in general consumers are willing to share their location data, they are seeking reassurances that they will not be bombarded by adverts, or that there is a tangible social benefit like fighting crime or improvements in healthcare, or that there is a personal enticement such as a money-off voucher.
For those willing to allow location data to be collected, certain other reassurances are also important; 32% want their details to remain anonymous, whilst 27% want transparency into the proposed usage of the data and 25% insist on actively opting in.
There were also mixed feelings regarding who they most trust with their location information: while most (43%) discern no difference, app providers were least likely to be trusted with the information, while government bodies and mobile or broadband operators were more trusted.
When probed about what concerns people had about sharing their location data, both security (34%) and privacy (34%) were equal causes for concern followed by a worry that information could be shared with third parties without their explicit permission (21%), while spam and unwanted adverts were a minor issue (9%).
Donald Stuart, CEO at Brainstorm commented: “Whilst the survey shows that the vast majority of us clearly appreciate the personal and social benefits of sharing our location data, it’s not surprising in this post-Snowden era, that there is a demand for further reassurances and transparency surrounding the privacy of location based data.
“There’s little doubt that in our data-centric world the use of location based data, in conjunction with other intelligence, can improve our lives in innumerable ways beyond traditional marketing promotions, including areas such as logistics, transportation, disaster warning and healthcare,” continued Stuart. “Businesses and governments should be encouraged by the fact that the public largely embraces the use of this data and they must continue to find ways to prove its value to their customers and citizens, and reassure them of their appropriate stewardship of their data.”
Chris Babayode, managing director of the MMA in EMEA added: “Technology in mobile marketing has moved on at such a fast pace that smart businesses are recognising the competitive advantage they can create in using location based data to enhance their customers journey and engagement levels with their products and services. This can happen in a variety of innovative ways through mobile to – both literally and metaphorically – understand their consumers’ behaviour and place it at the centre of what they are offering.”