Consumers willing to dump apps that collect private data, but can’t tell which are doing so

Consumers are increasingly leery of third parties using and capitalizing on their private data.

consumers care about private data

Two in three consumers are willing to dump data-collecting apps if the information collected is unrelated to the app’s function, or unless they receive real value – such as that derived through email or browsers, according to a consumer data privacy survey conducted in recent weeks for Anagog.

The survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey, also revealed optimism in the face of a looming data privacy crisis, with more than 70 percent of respondents saying they believe solutions exist that can cure the problem.

For instance, 42 percent said they’d like to have access to marketing deals on their mobile phones without having their personal data collected, and another 29 percent said they believe companies should use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence to pull in relevant offers to their private phones, based on their profile calculated on their phones while keeping their anonymity, rather than sending their private data to marketers’ unknown external clouds.

Nearly all consumers surveyed about their data privacy concerns in the snapshot study said they are aware the major internet companies are collecting their personal information and using it for their own benefit and/or selling it to third parties (84 percent).

While 8 percent said they don’t think it is a “big deal” that internet giants collect their private data without permission, they were in the minority. A full 36 percent of participants called this a “global epidemic that needs a cure,” while 38 percent said they are resigned to the fact that it’s a problem, but it can’t be avoided. Another 19 percent said, “It’s absolutely criminal to take my personal data.”

But even armed with this awareness and skepticism about the intentions of internet giants and apps vendors, nearly 75 percent of respondents said they do not know how to tell when and if apps are collecting their personal information.

Consumers said their biggest fear about data collection is that identity thieves will get their hands on their private data (64 percent). Other concerns about who has their data include thieves who know where they live (12 percent), government agencies and foreign entities (10 percent each), and telemarketers (4 percent).

While about 25 percent of consumers surveyed said they accept mobile apps tracking their behaviors as “part of modern life,” not everyone agreed. 43 percent said they are mad about the situation but feel powerless to change it or are demanding they get their privacy back.

Five percent believe their data is already anonymized and that marketers and apps do not know who they are. About 15 percent said mobile apps tracking their behavior is an acceptable tradeoff for relevant marketing offers.

Consumers fired up about their privacy said they are even willing to pay to keep their personal information out of the hands of internet giants by paying a small monthly fee between $1 and $3 (54 percent).

“We use apps because they fit a particular need, but most of us pay little attention to what we’re giving away in exchange,” said Ofer Tziperman, CEO of Anagog.

“Consumers are inured to simply accepting whatever permissions are asked for and continuing with the download, and it’s causing a data privacy crisis around the world that’s being recognized at all levels, including at Apple. The good news is that our survey shows more consumers are aware of this issue and more companies are starting to search for solutions that address it.”

The survey polled more than 200 apps users from age 18 to 65+ years.