in many high schools and maybe that’s what triggered the findings of a study I’d like to share today. As you’ll recall, in Orwell’s Oceania, there is no privacy. Most people’s apartments are equipped with two-way telescreens, so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Maybe this notion of having one’s privacy disappear lingers in the back of our minds from having read the book. We could have a long chat at this point about how the non-fictionalized world in which we live is approaching this but I’d like to focus on some research instead.
The folks at Berkeley have released a study on mobile phones and privacy. I’ll let them tell you what they found:
We found that Americans overwhelmingly consider information stored on their mobile phones to be private — at least as private as information stored on their home computers. They also overwhelmingly reject several types of data collection and use drawn from current business practices. Specifically, large majorities reject the collection of contact lists stored on the phone for the purposes of tailoring social network “friend” suggestions and providing coupons, the collection of location data for tailoring ads, and the use of wireless contact information for telemarketing, even where there is a business relationship between the consumer and merchant.
Respondents evinced strong support for substantial limitations on the retention of wireless phone usage data. Respondents also thought that some prior court oversight is appropriate when police seek to search a wireless phone when arresting an individual.
The Media Post summary of the specific data shows how civilians (proles?) really do NOT want app makers and marketers crossing over the privacy line:
Eighty-one percent of cell phone owners surveyed by UC Berkeley said they either “definitely” or “probably” wouldn’t allow an app to collect a contact list in order to suggest more friends. An even greater proportion, 93%, said they definitely or probably wouldn’t allow an app to collect friends’ contact information in order to offer them coupons. The study also found that people aren’t thrilled with the prospect of location-based ads. A staggering 92% of survey respondents said they either definitely or probably wouldn’t allow a cell phone provider to use their location to tailor ads to them.
We as marketers see convenience in suggesting friends or tailoring messages. Our customers see an invasion of privacy. That’s a pretty big disconnect. Where do you stand?