Mobile privacy concern could limit widespread adoption of mobile apps in Malaysia and Indonesia

GSMAMobile users in Malaysia and Indonesia are concerned with mobile privacy, according to a new research by GSMA and local mobile operators.

The study of more than 1,500 Malaysian and Indonesian mobile users shows that increased transparency and choice in how their personal data is collected and shared could boost take-up of mobile apps in Indonesia. The mobile apps market globally is worth US$29 billion and growing at 36 per cent per annum. The research was presented at a Data Protection and Privacy Conference hosted by the GSMA, Celcom Axiata and DiGi in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is clear that mobile users are concerned about their privacy and are more likely to interact with apps and receive targeted promotions if they feel it is respected,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer of GSMA.

He urged developers of mobile services and apps to look at the various best practice privacy guidelines available, including those published by GSMA and NTIA, and start incorporating these into their services.

The study revealed that better privacy safeguards will alleviate mobile users’ concerns and encourage adoption of mobile services and apps.

  • Eighty-six percent of Malaysian and 80 percent of Indonesian mobile Internet users surveyed are concerned that apps might collect personal information without their permission, and over half of those with concerns limit their use of apps but would use them more if they felt sure their personal information was better safeguarded; and
  • Seventy-one percent of Malaysian and 74 percent of mobile Internet users would consider receiving targeted location-based advertising from a company that asked for their permission first.

Mobile users value their privacy but do not want to be burdened by long legalistic privacy notices before they can use an app. They want short, simple and easily recognisable icons to help them understand what they are agreeing to.

For example, apps that wish to share a user’s location with advertisers could display a graphic icon and require them to agree. Such icons are likely to strengthen users’ trust with mobile service providers and apps and encourage them to interact with those services more, benefitting both themselves and business

Mobile users hold their mobile operator primarily responsible for safeguarding their personal data but want all companies accessing their personal information to respect their privacy rights, irrespective of the type of smartphone, service or app they use. They also look to regulators and mobile operators for help when their mobile privacy is invaded.




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