November 8, 2013

Mobile app trust low in UK

Written By Martin Sandhu

A new survey has highlighted a significant lack of trust in mobile apps, posing questions for the future of the industry and the so-called ‘internet of things’.

The research by Isaca found that 96% of UK consumers do not place the makers of their mobile phone apps highly when it comes to trust with their personal data. Despite that only 10% of those surveyed actually read the terms and conditions before downloading a mobile application.

There seems to be some conflict around where the threats lie too. According to the findings, app users top concern is people hacking into their devices (24%), whereas the IT professionals surveyed believe it is more important to know who has access to any information collected (44%) and to understand how the information will be used (29%).

This information poses a number of questions and worries; the fact that users are more concerned about their devices being hacked rather than the misuse of their personal data is interesting, however many would agree that personal data is a bigger threat – particularly when it comes to personal mobiles.

It’s unsurprising that users do not read terms and conditions, but in order to build trust between app developers and their consumers, helping them to understand why certain information is needed and how it will be used is key. Perhaps going forward we could see more developers taking the initiative to put key pieces of privacy information in their app store listings, as a means to build trust?

The other aspect of technology this research focused on was the ‘internet of things’. It estimates that by 2020 there will be 50million devices connected to everyday ‘things’, such as cars, cameras and TV’s. This requires a much deeper level of trust as reliance on apps and mobile devices grows significantly.

Although more than 85% of consumers surveyed expressed reservations about the internet of things, IT professionals believe that the benefits will outweigh the perceived risks.

There are very clearly mixed feelings between the mobile industry itself and its consumers. Ultimately of course, the consumers make the industry, so businesses will need to find ways of building trust in their apps and technology in order to ensure future success.