Millennials Like Their Privacy, but Give It Away Freely
More than half of smartphone owners under 35 years old believe they are privacy-savvy, yet they tend to take the most risks with their personal data.The younger generation—Millennials, or those aged 18 to 35—consider themselves the most privacy-aware users of mobile devices, but in reality, they take the most risks, according to a survey of smartphones users by mobile-security firm Lookout. While major media stories, such as the revelations that the National Security Agency collects data on millions of people, have raised awareness of privacy, people still use their mobile devices in risky ways, according to Lookout's Mobile Privacy IQ report, published on March 24. Lookout surveyed 1,012 mobile users in late January and early February and found that 41 percent thought they firmly grasped the privacy implications of mobile devices. Yet more than a third of those privacy-savvy users connect to public WiFi, fail to set a passcode to lock their smartphones and download apps from unofficial marketplaces. Among younger users—so-called Millennials—the majority classified themselves as knowledgeable about privacy concerns, but they engaged in risky behavior more often, the report said. "While privacy-related headlines are forcing privacy to be top-of-mind for people everywhere, a disconnect exists between people's understanding of what it means to be privacy-conscious on mobile and the actions they're taking in the real world," Cherie Gatson, mobile security expert at Lookout, told eWEEK in an email.
The report underscored the complexities of protecting personal information on mobile devices when a variety of groups—from cyber-criminals to legitimate companies—aim to collect data on mobile users.