January 29, 2013

The Results Are In: Mobile Privacy is Important

As we transition to a world connected by mobile, the need to keep our most personal information safe becomes more critical. We recently distributed a nationwide Google Consumer Survey and found that 15% of respondents caught unauthorized parties looking at their phones, while 8% suspect that someone has tried.

But wait…you’re not off the hook just yet! On the flip side, 32% of people surveyed admitted to looking in someone else’s phone without permission.

It happens – and often times it’s harmless, but on the rare occasion that your phone lands in the wrong hands, it’s important that your phone and the information it carries is protected. More than half of people admitted to not having a passcode set on their phones, a critical and easy step in keeping prying eyes out.

Who’s eyeing your phone?

  • It seems that age played a factor when admitting to phone prying – younger demographics were the most admittedly guilty of phone prying, while older demographics were the least.
  • When asked whose mobile phones have you looked at? 32% said a spouse or significant other’s, 27% said a friend’s and 19% said a family member’s.
    • Women were more often the culprits, selecting spouse or significant other (44%) more than men (26%). (Tweet this!)

Why are they looking?

  • The motivations for unauthorized peeking varied: 11% looked to check text messages or emails, 10% said they were browsing through photos, while 10% also said they were looking for no particular reason.
    • Additionally,14% of women respondents said they looked to check text messages and emails more often than men; only 8% of men respondents had this motivation. (Tweet this!)

What info are you most concerned about?

  • When your phone or tablet has been stolen, it’s expensive to replace, but it’s also a risk to your privacy. Respondents expressed concern about having an unauthorized person look into their purse/wallet (26%), computer (23%), mobile phone (12%) and underwear drawer (10%). (Tweet this!) Can we really blame them?
  • The majority of people are most invested in keeping their mobile banking data (43%) private.

The results speak for themselves. Mobile privacy is something that can’t be toyed with, especially as mobile devices become our lifelines. Although eyes on your phone may be harmless, it’s still important to ensure that your most precious data stays safe.

How can you keep the data on your device safe?

  • Don’t jump on the “no passcode” bandwagon like more than half of survey respondents. Set a passcode on your phone. It’s your first line of defense against prying eyes, and in the worse scenario, thieves.
  • Banking information security is something we know is on the minds of all mobile users. Check out our mobile banking tips that include having a passcode set on your mobile device. You can also set up security features in some mobile apps like Mint that require a pin to even open the program, and asks for it every time the app is closed as well.

Have you ever caught someone looking into your phone without your permission? Or, have you ever been the one trying to take a look at someone else’s phone?

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