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UK consumers the most trusting with location data, despite fears

Britons have conflicting sentiments about the collection of their location data. This is according to a survey of 8,000 global consumers, including 1,000 in the UK. Toni Sekinah reports. UK respondents are most likely of al…
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Britons have conflicting sentiments about the collection of their location data. This is according to a survey of 8,000 global consumers, including 1,000 in the UK. Toni Sekinah reports.

UK respondents are most likely of all the nationalities surveyed to share their location data. Amongst Britons, 29% stated that they always or very often share location data. As one UK participant said: “The apps that I would be most willing to share my location data with would be navigation apps, security apps, weather, etc. [I am] least likely to share my data with more superficial apps such as social media, games, etc.”

This indicates that this consumer at least is cautious of apps for which location data would be extraneous. Japanese respondents are least likely to do so, with only 13% stating they share data with the same level of frequency. The global average is 21%. However, only 14% of Britons agreed with the statement that they know what their location data is used for, compared to 16% globally.

Nine out of ten Britons said they do not like the current privacy practices of most data collectors.

Smartphone with navigation appDespite sharing their data so often, nine out of ten Britons said they do not like the current privacy practices of most data collectors. This is the case for the same proportion of people in The Netherlands and is only exceeded by those in Australia, of whom 92% agreed with the statement.

UK respondents are especially aware of the value of their data with 44% of Britons strongly agreeing with the statement that their data is valuable to many different data collectors, compared to 39% globally.

Although many are unhappy with current privacy practices, few in the UK take the initiative to adjust the privacy settings of their apps. Of Britons, 24% strongly agree that they are likely to not alter their app settings, compared to a global average of 21%.

Britons are least concerned about harm or violence stemming from the misuse of their location data. Only 30% in the UK compared to 33% worldwide strongly agree that they are nervous about burglaries, stalkers and digital or physical harm.

Strava user with bike and smartphoneThis survey was carried out between July and October of 2017. Months later in January 2018, it was revealed that fitness and activity tracking app Strava had inadvertently revealed the location of US military bases in countries such as Afghanistan, Djibouti and Syria by detailing a map of the running routes of its users. It would be interesting to know if participants would respond in the same way in light of this revelation.

Globally, only 20% of respondents feel they have full control of their location data.

Notably, 76% said that sharing data makes them feel vulnerable or stressed. Seven out of ten said they feel unable to withdraw permission or change their permissions or preferences most of the time.

However, this may change when the GDPR comes into force next month. GDPR will treat location data as personal data and will require data collectors to obtain specific consent from consumers to use their personal data.

The survey was commissioned by HERE Technologies, a mapping company whose maps are used by 80% of the consumers from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, the UK and the US were interviewed for this survey.

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