We love our smartphones…oh, the fun, the functionality…but what about our privacy? But we still go on loving them! This is one of the key themes from the recent geolocation study conducted by ISACA, which polled 1,000 U.S. consumers and found that 58 percent of smart-device owners use location-based apps, despite having concerns about those apps infringing on their privacy.
Depending on how much information they are sharing, users’ concerns ranged from too much marketing, lack of privacy and even physical assault (read about the Girls Around Me app here). On the question of whether user agreements address these concerns, the answer is mixed: but certainly the consensus is that they don’t go far enough - 25 percent believe the agreements are not clear about how location information about them is being used!
But there are upsides to geolocation, including apps that offer precise navigation, location-based coupons and easy information sharing through features like social check-ins. And the appeal of geolocation is growing; nearly one-third (32%) of consumers in ISACA’s survey use location-based apps more than they did a year ago.
Users should educate themselves so they can understand how their information is being used. They should also learn how to disable location-based features. Of course, businesses that collect location-based data have a responsibility, too. They need to define an ethical governance policy and communicate it transparently.
Getting informed about geolocation is easy for those willing to invest a little time to protect themselves. ISACA has created a simple acronym—ROUTE—to educate location-based app users:
For a deeper analysis, look to ISACA’s recently published white paper on geolocation, which you can find here. You can also view a series of geolocation video segments from my friend and fellow ISACA volunteer Ramsés Gallego here.
Geolocation is a big issue that is increasingly grabbing headlines. In recent weeks a number of publications, including the Washington Post, produced articles based on ISACA’s geolocation study.
This blog’s readers—mainly IT professionals such as yourself—are likely more knowledgeable about geolocation and location-based apps than the average user, and more likely have a deeper understanding of the perils and possibilities afforded by them.
But we IT professionals are smartphone users, too. And like those hundreds of smartphone owners who participated in the ISACA study, I, too, have my concerns about privacy.
Marios Damianides, CISA, CA, CPA
Partner, Ernst & Young, USA
Past International President, ISACA
We welcome your comments! Please log in using the Sign In link at the top right of this page and then leave your comment in the box at the end of the post. To view all blog posts, please click on the ISACA Now link in the blue box on the left.