Canadians take more steps to protect data over mobile privacy concerns

Apr. 18, 2013 – Internet users in Canada are worried about privacy, though in some ways their fears have waned as they have become more comfortable online. But with the increasing use of the mobile and social web, some new concerns are rising to the surface.

When the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada surveyed internet users in the country in November 2012, more than half were “very concerned” about sharing information about their location or their contact information. And between about 80% to 90% of internet users were at least somewhat concerned about a variety of online privacy issues, including sharing photos and videos, social information and opinions.

Level of concern about sharing personal information onlin according to internet users in Canada (Nov 2012)

Location information is a hot-button privacy issue since the rise of smartphones and mobile internet usage, which eMarketer estimates at 51% and 53% of mobile users in Canada, respectively, as of this year.

And with the rise of advanced mobile usage comes not just increased concern, but also increased efforts by mobile users in Canada to protect themselves. The November survey found more than half of mobile device users locked their phones with a password and adjusted their settings to limit sharing of personal info in 2012—both significantly increased from a year earlier.

Privacy and security-related activities of mobile device users in Canada, 2011-12

More mobile users are also storing personal information on their devices, so marketers shouldn’t assume they eschew the potential convenience of mobile because of their privacy fears. Instead, mobile users in Canada appear to be taking a proactive role in safeguarding their information, though they remain wary of future developments.

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