Sharp Increase in Mobile Privacy Concerns Among Brits

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A high proportion of British internet users aged 16 to 75 remain worried about their privacy online and user mistrust and the potential impact of privacy concerns on business is growing according to a survey by TRUSTe.

­The research also shows that mobile phone privacy concerns have increased sharply over the last year with 66 percent of smartphone users more concerned than a year ago and 79 percent of smartphone users avoiding apps that they don't believe protect their privacy.

Overall, the research found that online privacy concerns remain high with 88 percent of British internet users worrying about their general online privacy compared with 90 percent in 2012 findings; however mistrust and the potential impact on business is increasing. 43 percent of users (up 6 percent from 2012) do not trust companies with their personal information and 91 percent of users (up 3 percent from 2012) said that they avoided doing business with companies they don't believe protect their privacy

When internet users were asked in more detail about different types of activities, online shopping and using social networks topped the list of British online privacy concerns with 88 percent of online shoppers worrying about their privacy and 86 percent of those who used social networks having concerns. 84 percent of online banking customers, 80 percent of those who used mobile apps and 76 percent of those who used e-mail had privacy concerns.

The research also looked at depth of privacy concern and found that 46 percent of online banking customers are frequently or always concerned when banking online and 40 percent of online shoppers are frequently or always concerned about their privacy when shopping online.

Nearly all British internet users (96 percent) wanted the ability to control who can collect their personal information and who can track their activities online - now a legal requirement under the EU Cookie Directive, which has been enforced in the UK since May 2012.

Danilo Labovic EU Managing Director, for TRUSTe said: "The introduction of the EU Cookie Directive helped in raising awareness as to how consumers can gain transparency and control over online tracking and as a result, many UK websites have taken steps to comply with the Directive. Nevertheless, TRUSTe research shows that British consumer privacy concerns remain high."

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