January 19, 2022

New Report from Pew Internet Looks at Privacy and Data Management on Mobile Devices

The report was released earlier today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and was written by Jan Lauren Boyles, Aaron Smith, and Mary Madden.

It shows that privacy and sharing of personal info is a concern for many mobile web users. Are libraries doing everything within possible to insure that all user data (including library records) are being kept private? Are plans in place to quickly and professionally deal with a privacy breach from all angles if/when one occurs? Are we helping to make library users digitally literate when it comes to privacy and data sharing not only with library resources?

Libraries and librarians have a long and well deserved reputation for being very being 100% respectful of user privacy. We should be proud. However, we must make sure that with technology and access changing as fast as it is that we remain aware of the privacy/data sharing landscape as well as technically prepared.

From the Pew Internet Report Overview:

More than half of mobile application users have uninstalled or avoided certain apps due to concerns about the way personal information is shared or collected by the app, according to a nationally representative telephone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

In all, 88% of U.S. adults now own cell phones, and 43% say they download cell phone applications or “apps” to their phones. Among app users, the survey found:

  • 54% of app users have decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it
  • 30% of app users have uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phone because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share

Taken together, 57% of all app users have either uninstalled an app over concerns about having to share their personal information, or declined to install an app in the first place for similar reasons.

Selected Charts

All Pew Internet reports are full of useful charts. Here are a three from today’s report.

Access the Complete Report (HTML) ||| PDF Version

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.