A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University shows that when people are aware that free smart phone apps may be sharing private info with third parties, they’ll often rapidly move to limit further sharing.
Carnegie Mellon News reported that the study evaluated the benefits of app permission managers (for Android 4.3, known as AppOps) that tell them how many times info like location, contact lists or phone call logs had been shared.
“Your location has been shared 5,398 times with Facebook, Groupon, GO Launcher EX and seven other apps in the last 14 days.”
“App permission managers are better than nothing, but by themselves aren’t sufficient,” said Norman Sadeh, a professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. “Privacy ‘nudges’ can play an important role in increasing awareness and in motivating people to review and adjust their privacy settings.”
All of this available location data can be a bit of a sticky wicket for marketers, who are trying to drive sales for their products/services, but at the same time, increasingly realizing they need to respect consumer privacy. Marketers, according to Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, will pay 10-20 percent more for online ads that contain location information – and because location data can make ads more relevant, that data can be used, for instance, to show an ad for a store to nearby customers.
But even consumers often can’t figure out what they want when it comes to key privacy issues.
Case in point – last year Accenture queried 2,012 consumers, ages 20-40 in the U.S. and the U.K. Eighty percent said privacy is a thing of the past; 87 percent said safeguards are insufficient to protect personal information. Yet 49 percent also said they wouldn’t object to companies tracking their buying behaviors if it meant receiving more relevant offers. And 64 percent would allow text messages while in a store if the on-the-spot offers were in concert with their buying preferences.
Josh Manion, writing in Marketing Land, wondered about what happens when privacy’s viewed as a matter of enterprise strategy based on who your customers are and how you engage them:
“We need to change our focus on privacy as country- or channel-based, and instead, make it an enterprise strategy implemented at the level of individual users,” said Manion. “That way, the consumer directs the brand, “Here’s when and how you can use my data. And here’s what I want in exchange.” That’s how we gain, and regain, the trust of consumers!”