03 May 2012

Location-Based Apps Are Installed Without Regard for Security, Survey Reveals

Location based apps are used by 58% of smartphone users, despite written notifications on giving away personal information and using it for marketing purposes. License agreements are often disregarded by 43% of users and 25% have trouble understanding them.

Geolocation data gathered from Android apps is often used by companies to efficiently target marketing campaigns and plan consumer-based promotions. Smartphones, tablets and laptops are the most efficient means of transmitting the respondent’s location, and apps provide all this information.

“Like any other kind of information-sharing, location-based apps can be tremendously convenient but also risky. Knowledge is power. People should educate themselves so they can understand how their data is being used or know how to disable this feature,” said Marios Damianides, partner at Ernst & Young. “Businesses that collect location-based data have a responsibility, too. They need to define an ethical governance policy and communicate it transparently.”

While 38% of users disable location-based features from newly installed apps, a recent ISACA report confirms that combining personal information like gender, occupation and GPS data can place enterprises at risk. The survey points out that awareness on license agreements and technology needs to be at its highest.