America News: Privacy concerns a major roadblock for LBS adoption

America News:  Privacy concerns a major roadblock for LBS adoption

According to the results of a December 2006 survey by Harris Interactive®, when it comes to next-generation telecommunications technologies, privacy remains the major concern for most US mobile phone users.

About 25% of mobile phone owners would like the ability to find out the availability of their contacts (available, busy on a call, unavailable), with 27% rating this a very appealing option.

18% would like the ability to determine the current location of people on their contact list, and 14% would like to be able to find out where their contacts had been recently.

However, when asked how they feel about other people having this information about them, the majority of those surveyed say such services are an invasion of privacy.

Just over half (58%) would want their spouse or significant other to know where they are and whether they are available, while fewer would want children (46%) or other family members (43%) to have this information. Only a handful of those surveyed would want their co-workers (6%) or employers (5%) to know where they are.

Currently, awareness and immediate purchase intent for LBS and presence services are low. In all, only 4% would switch wireless carriers tomorrow to have these features. But three in ten consumers say they would be interested in more information.

“We expect these technologies eventually to catch on,” said Joe Porus, vice president & chief architect with Harris Interactive’s Technology & Telecom Practice. “But providers must give users control over location-based features to allay privacy concerns.”

According to Milt Ellis, vice president & senior consultant with the practice, the key for marketers of these services is to target groups of users initially, such as teenagers, busy executives, delivery and emergency service personnel, who value the benefits of being connected more than they worry about privacy.

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