Location data sharing: What are the concerns around privacy?

Location data sharing: What are the concerns around privacy?

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location data privacy
Sharing location data makes majority of consumers feel stressed, nervous or vulnerable, triggering fears of burglaries, spying, stalkers and digital or physical harm.

With an exponential increase in connectivity, ubiquitous cameras and sensors, there is a huge amout of data being produced every moment. While it can benefit companies in a big way by capturing in using this data in innovative measures, customers or common man feel a threat to their privacy. However, there is also a growing trend where customers are increasingly sharing their location data with map or navigation and weather services, but that doesn’t mean they are comfortable with it, finds a study by HEREE Technologies — Privacy and Location Data Global consumers Study.

“We wanted to assess peoples’ attitudes towards data privacy today. We do not believe that current privacy practices will work in an autonomous world. If a person’s privacy is inherently about his/her control over information relating to him/her, we must ask the question: how will that person control his/her exposure to others in the Internet of Everything – in a world where time-sensitive, machine-to-machine communications are more widespread?,” says Peter Kürpick, Chief Platform Officer, HERE Technologies.

The study is based on survey of over 8,000 consumers across eight countries, and a set of in-depth interviews with external and internal experts on the topic as well as with consumers from Germany, the UK and the US. Let us look at some of the key findings of the study in brief:

Digital privacy, sharing location data is sensitive

Sharing location data makes 75-80% of consumers feel stressed, nervous or vulnerable, triggering fears of burglaries, spying, stalkers and digital or physical harm. One third of consumers are very restrictive in granting access to their location data. Further, only 21% of consumers share their location data always or very often, and further 42% usually or sometimes. Younger people,men, those who live in urban areas and those who are tech savvy* are the most likely to share their location data.

location data privacyHesitant to update their location data settings

There is a growing trend of consumers turning on and off data access as needed. Despite their concerns only 22% of consumers check their location data settings pro-actively – they rather turn data sharing on when needed and off again afterwards. Although consumers try to restrict access to their location data, many still share unintentionally: 44% share with more apps than they thought, which causes concern for 80% of them.

There is a strong lack of trust in data collectors. Around 80% of consumers do not fully trust that services collecting their location data will handle their data as they should, and almost 90% dislike the current privacy practices. Although trust in the data collector impacts data sharing willingness, consumers also share with untrustworthy data collectors if they feel they don’t have a choice.

Lack of trust in laws and regulations

84% of consumers do not trust laws and regulations to ensure that there is no misuse of location data. 6. Consumers are most willing to share their location data with map or navigation and weather services. The industry of the data collector influences the willingness to share location data. The more understandable the reason for the data collection, the higher the willingness to share. 71% are willing to share location data with a map or navigation service because they understand their location data is necessary for the service to function.

location data privacy

Greater safety in the car is the most attractive benefit

Benefits offered by the data collector influence the willingness to share location data. Around 70% of consumers would share their location data in exchange for increased safety in the car, better services, and financial benefits.

More transparency

The greater the transparency, the higher the willingness to share. 75% of consumers are not fully aware of what happens with their data once it is collected. More information would spur willingness to share: 66-68% would grant access if they knew why their data is needed, what it is used for, that it is protected, stored safely or systematically deleted.

Improving different aspects of transparency could have a significant impact, as it activates unconvinced consumers: 30-50% of those 32% who are currently not open to sharing location data (do so rarely or never) say they would be likely or very likely to share if transparency was enhanced.

location data privacyMore control much more motivating

Greater control motivates people even more than transparency to share their data. Only 20% feel they have full control over their location data, but around 70% would allow access if they could more easily change their settings, withdraw access and delete their history. Similarly to transparency, increased control and empowerment of consumers would significantly increase their willingness to share location data; 50% of those 32% who are not currently open to sharing say they would share if they had increased control.

More location data to be shared with drones, autonomous cars

72% of consumers are willing to share their location data for an autonomous car to find the most efficient routes. 70% globally say they are likely to share their location data to enable a drone to find a missing person, pet or item. Those who are less open to sharing location data today respond with more caution, but around half are open to sharing for safety and convenience reasons.

location data privacyNew privacy concepts

Consumers are eager to embrace new privacy concepts if they are easy to use and safe time. Privacy concepts offering an increased sense of safety, making preferences and settings easier to manage and saving time are attractive to consumers: 65% would consider using a ‘Privacy Profile’, 63% would consider using a ‘Privacy Service’ and 51% would consider using a ‘Personal Data Manager’ in an autonomous world. Even among those consumers who are not currently open to sharing their location data, around half would consider sharing their location data with these alternative solutions involving increased transparency and control.