As companies across the globe line up to announce their latest innovations at this week’s Mobile World Congress, a study released today by AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security to 146 million active users, has revealed that one in four average mobile users store intimate photos or videos on a smartphone or tablet. Furthermore – and despite the obvious risks to personal privacy if a device is lost or compromised – yet 70 percent of consumers are unaware of security features that allow such data to be deleted remotely.
Clearly, consumers are embracing the photographic and video capabilities of their devices, however, the global mobile survey also revealed a marked conservatism among consumers when it comes to more practical, everyday features. For example, among the 5,000 smartphone users questioned in the UK, US, France, Germany and Brazil, fewer than 40 percent use their device for either online shopping (35 percent) or online banking (38 percent).
The primary reason given by those holding back from using their device to shop online was a perceived lack of security – nearly 50 percent of smartphone users feel that using a mobile device isn’t as safe or secure as using a computer. Similarly, only 36 percent would consider checking their bank balance from a smartphone, compared to 78 percent when using a PC.
“This survey has clearly demonstrated that there is confusion in the minds of consumers about what is and isn’t safe or sensible to do with a mobile device,” said J.R. Smith, CEO of AVG Technologies. “It is already limiting the appeal of mobile shopping, banking and ticketing, and this is in turn hampering the industry’s efforts to drive new innovations and monetization methods. At the same time, millions of consumers are exposing themselves to risk of personal and professional embarrassment by storing sensitive images on their devices.
“It is time for the industry to wake up and start educating consumers about privacy and security,” Smith continued. “If it does not, mainstream consumers will remain skeptical about mobile commerce, potentially wasting billions of dollars of investment into new features, and the manufacturers, networks and developers will face the wrath of wronged consumers when their digital privacy is compromised.”
An online survey of 5,107 smartphone users was undertaken across the UK, US, France, Germany and Brazil. Fieldwork took place in January 2013 and was managed by Qualtrics.
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About AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG)
AVG’s mission is to simplify, optimize and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to 146 million active users as of December 31, 2012 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimization, online backup, mobile security, identity protection and family safety software.
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