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Feb 23, 2007

Privacy Concerns a Key Hurdle for Locaton Based Services

Most mobile phone users in the U.S. worry about privacy when it comes to next-generation telecommunications technologies a recent survey found. Harris Interactive polled 1,028 adults in the U.S. to determine public attitudes on location-based services (LBS). LBS uses GPS-enabled cell phones to target custom advertising and services to the user.

Harris found that about 1 in 4 mobile phone owners would like to be able to find out the availability of their contacts (available, busy on a call, unavailable). 18% would be very interested in the ability to determine the current location of persons on their contact list and 14% would like to be able to find out where their contacts had been recently. However, when those same respondents were asked how they would feel about other people having the same information about them, the majority said that such services would be an invasion of their privacy.

When asked how they would feel about people knowing their location, most people wanted to keep that in the family:

  • 58% said that they would want their spouse to know where they were.
  • 46% were okay with their children having access to the same information.
  • 6% would want their co-workers to know where they were and
  • 5% would want their employers to have access to their location

While often touted as the next big thing, LBS hasn't caught fire yet, Only 4% of those surveyed said that they would switch wireless carriers to have LBS features. Joe Porus a VP at Harris Interactive says that LBS will eventually catch on, "But providers must give users control over location-based features to allay privacy concerns." Not surprisingly, among the first groups expected to embrace LBS technology: teenagers.

The complete report is here.
See also: Location Technology One Of The Fastest Growing Sectors Of GPS Technology.

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