Survey: mobile users concerned about location privacy

The Guardian
More than half of mobile phone users with GPS-enabled features are concerned about over-sharing location information on their social networks. Josh Halliday reports that a new survey from online security company Webroot finds that 52 percent of U.K. respondents were “very or extremely concerned” about the loss of privacy resulting from the use of location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla.

Halliday quotes David Bennett, the director for Webroot in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who believes that the concerns may be related to the novelty of the technology and the resulting uncertainty of its beneficial or harmful effects:

“A lot of people don’t necessarily know what they do or what the implications are of these services. Of the half that thought there was a problem, how many people know that the pictures they’re taking can be geotagged? Say if you move into a new house, and you say ‘Here’s a picture of my house,’ you then take a picture of you and your family on holiday — this is where cybercrime really expands. What’s to stop a certain segment of the marketplace burgling your house? That’s the challenge as we go forward.”

Uncertainty can delay consumer and media adoption of new technologies. Yet it is still critical that content producers analyze and use these location-based tools and services. Hands-on experimentation is the only way to identify strategies that balance the privacy issues of location tools with the benefits for news creation and distribution.

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