Mobile Application Privacy Survey: User Concerns Increasing

As more and more people begin using smartphones and other mobile devices, more mobile applications become part of everyday life. There are apps for nearly every purpose and interest group. But sometimes these apps might go a little too far in terms of violating users’ privacy. Some apps even collect information like photos and contacts from users’ devices. Are attitudes about mobile application privacy changing at all?

mobile application privacy

Mobile Application Privacy

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 63% of respondents said they currently have a smartphone or similar mobile device that uses apps. Of those respondents, 71% said they would stop using an app if they learned that it uploaded and stored their contacts onto its server. 11% said they would be very upset, but wouldn’t necessarily stop using the app because of it. 14% said they would think it’s a violation of privacy, depending on why the company was seeking that type of information. And just 4% of mobile users said they wouldn’t really care if a mobile app took contact information from their phone.

User Permission

Some types of apps, though, can use a phone’s contacts for a practical purpose. For instance, some social media apps have “find friends” features where they can use phone numbers to help the user find their friends’ accounts on the site. In instances like this, it seems that more mobile users would be willing to allow mobile apps access to their information. 19% of mobile user said they would give permission for an app to upload and store their contact data if it had a practical purpose. 34% said they still wouldn’t. And 47% said they might allow it, depending on the specific app and purpose.

Privacy Policies

And although users seem to be very concerned about mobile application privacy, most apps include information about what type of information they collect and why in their policies. And not all users catch this type of information. Just 17% of mobile users said they always read the privacy policies for the apps they use. 21% said they read these policies most of the time. 37% said they read mobile app privacy policies sometimes. 16% rarely read them. And 9% said they never do.

Some recent privacy issues regarding mobile apps might be increasing users’ concerns, since more seem to be going out of their way to read the policies now. In a February 2012 survey, just 8% of respondents said they always read the privacy policies for the mobile apps they used. And 24% said they never read them.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Checking out the many features of the new Desert Rivers Audubon Mobile App, 101 Birding Sites-Phoenix. from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on October 9 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.