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Report: More Smartphone Owners Than Cellphone Owners Report Privacy Breaches

Posted Sep 6, 2012 1:30 PM CDT
By Terry Carter

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The smarter the phone, the smarter you’d better be—or at least knowledgeable and vigilant. That’s the takeaway from a new report out of the Pew Research Center concerning privacy and mobile devices.

More owners of smartphones (15 percent) than regular cellphones (8 percent) say someone "has accessed their phone in a way that made them feel their privacy was invaded," according to the report.

The Pew study also found that 43 percent of smartphone owners download apps on the devices, up from 31 percent last year. More than half of them decided against installing certain apps when they realized how much personal information those apps would give away; and 30 percent of those surveyed uninstalled apps when they found out they were unwittingly giving up too much information.

And some of those information-gatherers know very well how uncomfortable we might get about this, so they conveniently mask what they’re doing. A TechCrunch story describes how Facebook uses color and design to get more users to thoughtlessly add apps without realizing that we're granting those app creators access to our personal information.

Though Pew didn’t go out in the weeds, lawyers who mix business with personal utility on their smartphones and similar devices have ethical concerns beyond loss of personal privacy.

Hat tip: The Not-So-Private Parts.

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