Privacy fears holding back LatAm app adoption — GSMA

Privacy fears holding back apps in LatAm — GSMA

25 APR 2013

Concerns about privacy and sharing of location are limiting the uptake of apps in Latin America, according to the GSMA.

A study of 4,500 mobile subscribers in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico found that 88 per cent of app users are concerned about the collection of personal information without their consent, with half of those with concerns limiting their use of apps until better safeguards are introduced.

Some 60 per cent of consumers would turn to their operator if they suffered a serious invasion of privacy through the use of an app. Just 31 per cent would turn to the relevant app store, while 34 per cent would go to the developer of the app in question.

According to the GSMA, operators recognise the need to work with governments and the wider mobile industry to address the issues and are calling on policy makers to increase engagement with the mobile ecosystem as new consumer protection laws are drafted.

“It’s not the case that legislators can simply cut and paste old-world data protection rules into the modern mobile apps market,” said Tom Phillips, GSMA chief government and regulatory affairs officer.

There is also concern about location data with 92 per cent of respondents saying they want to be asked their permission before sharing their location with an app or service. Three-quarters of those using location based services regularly are concerned about their location being shared with third parties without their permission.

Just under half (47 per cent) of the most popular apps transmit the unique device identity of devices to other companies without users’ awareness or consent.

The GSMA noted that services provided by internet companies are not subject to the same restrictions around location data as mobile operators are. “The rules regarding location privacy need to apply equally to all the different players who offer such services. Today this lack of consistency is putting consumers’ data at risk,” Phillips said.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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