Mobile Security and Privacy Concerns

The mobile industry will be seeing a lot more enforcement on the mobile security and privacy fronts this year, as many questions have been raised regarding mobile payments, coupons and applications.

Mobile commerce is on the rise, which means people are more comfortable with the idea of paying with their phones. However, apprehension is still resonating throughout the mobilized world regarding the safety of this kind of payment system.

Of course, NFC technology and QR card readers will make it so that no one—not even cashiers—will be touching your phone besides you. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty and fear of privacy regarding the mobile industry.

Mobile coupons are also still under tough scrutiny by many security-conscious consumers, as they require companies to gather personal data about subscribers.

Data reported by eMarketer found that 35.6 million mobile phone users will use mobile coupons by 2013, but a study from Opus Research found that nearly 52% of consumers are “not likely to use” mobile coupons. Their hesitance is due mostly to security concerns over handing someone their phone to make a payment.

Also, we can recall the big news about Carrier IQ, a technology company who allegedly gathers personal data about mobile phone users.

These are the types of security issues that are holding people back from trusting the industry.

The issue of privacy is so pressing that Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts congressman released a draft version of legislation that would require mobile companies to inform consumers about their ability to track them and require opt-in consent.

The bill, titled the Mobile Device Privacy Act, would require cell phone providers to inform consumers if their devices include software that can track them and collect their personal data.

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) also finalized its Mobile Application Privacy Policy Guidelines, which were created to help developers create a more secure experience for app users.

A study by TRUSTe and Harris Interactive found that only 19 percent of the top 340 free smartphone apps had a link to a privacy policy. Interestingly enough, according to the MMA, more than 58 percent of U.S. mobile users express concerns that others can access their personal data, yet millions of consumers are still purchasing applications without being given information about how their data is being used or who it is being shared with.

Of course, any technology that collects or shares personal data with others will run into some problems with consumers who are savvy in the realm of privacy and security.

The bottom line is, mobile users need to know what they’re getting when they sign on with a mobile carrier, use mobile payment systems, subscribe to mobile coupons or purchase mobile apps. These new mobile security and privacy laws will help set the standards and change will follow.

But hey, the mobile industry transformed immensely in a very short period of time.  It was only a matter of time before these types of problems would surface.


Article first published as Mobile Security & Privacy Concerns on Technorati.


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