Phone users value financial data over nude pics

19 Nov 2015

As featured in DisruptiveViews

Ever wondered how people protect their smartphone’s privacy and which data they value most? An online survey was conducted in October 2015 by security software firm Avast Software to find this out and to raise awareness around the importance of smartphone privacy. The survey gathered responses from customers located in eleven countries.

The survey revealed that smartphone users around the world feel unanimously worried that someone will see personal information on their phone. In all countries, only a small minority responded saying that someone accessing private information on their phone doesn’t worry them or that they weren’t sure if this would worry them.

Respondents were asked who it is that they would least like to have gain access to the data on their smartphone – their mom, cybercriminals, the government or spouses.

Surprisingly, moms were the most feared by users to have access to their smartphones, even by respondents 75 years or older, followed by cybercriminals. Spouses/partners were among the most trusted people, although the variations almost certainly due to cultural differences in some countries.

Strangely, only a few people ranked governments as the first entity they didn’t trust. In countries including Argentina, Brazil, France, India and Russia, mothers rank first. Government spying ranks second in the US, Mexico, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Despite the privacy concerns held by smartphone users, there are many users who do not even make the effort to lock their phones. In the UK, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina well under half of users lock their phone using a PIN or other methods.

The survey then went on to ask respondents which data would be most painful for them to have accessed by the person they ranked first in their list of people they would least like to have gain access to the data on their smartphone. In nearly all countries, people listed “financial information, like credit card details” as the most painful information to be accessed.

Overall, most often smartphone users have had someone stumble across intimate text messages. Globally, the age group of 18 – 34 years old has most often experienced someone else accessing private information on their phone against their will – nearly half of them have been affected and often intimate content was accessed. One out of three people in this age group has experienced someone stumbling upon intimate text messages and nude photos of themselves or their partner.

When asked if people prefer to have someone access their nude photos or bank account information, it was interesting to see that in all countries, the vast majority said it would be less painful to have someone access nude photos.

What does that tell you about changing values in society? If you analyze all that information it’s easy to come to some basic conclusions. Smartphone users are not that security conscious, they are not worried about government spying, they value their financial information over everything else and they are terrified their mothers might find nudie pictures stored on their devices. What is the world coming to?

The full report is available here.

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