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The History of Privacy in the Digital Space: Analysis, Research, Facts


As the digital landscape widens to include new technology and new ways of communicating, researchers have been measuring consumer attitudes and perceptions of privacy within these new areas.

The two highlighted below, showcase two different scenarios.  Mobile privacy concerns are very new to consumers as new technology in devices and application development bring more privacy questions to light.  Social media, on the other hand, seems to be suffering a sort of backlash when it comes to privacy:  the demographic that first made their lives public via the internet has aged and now are some of the more stringent users of social media.


According to a survey conducted in February 2011 by TrustE and Harris Interactive, 38% of mobile application users are most concerned about their privacy when using these devices, beating out other top concerns such as identity theft and security.  It’s not surprising then, that a major uproar was caused when it was recently discovered that smart phones, including the iPhone and Android, have been tracking its users locations over their phones.  And according to the same February 2011 study, 77% of mobile users do not wish to share their location information with app developers and owners.

This skepticism towards mobile privacy and security is nothing new in the U.S.  Americans are some of the least likely consumers to purchase something via their mobile device, with only 10% doing so in 2010 compared to 28% of global consumers who made a purchase via their mobile device.


When it comes to privacy in the social media space, surprisingly, those between the ages of 18-29 are the most sensitive to keeping their information private.  Within this demographic, 47% of social media users stated that they have deleted comments made about them in a public online environment (such as their wall), compared to only 29% of those between the ages of 30-49.  Similarly, this younger age group is more likely to change their privacy settings so that they can share information only with specific people (71% of users), than those ages 50-64 (55%).



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