The topic of privacy is frequently debated as more and more people expose personal information online. A report from Ericsson ConsumerLab highlights how individuals also watch others in turn. Consumers observe not only each other, but also companies and authorities – and they share what they see.
By sharing more information than ever, consumers increasingly act like citizen journalists and just over half of the smartphone users surveyed believe that sharing information and opinions online has increased their influence over companies. Consumers feel that they are able to pressure industry and authorities to change in beneficial ways.
Rebecka Cedering Ångström, Senior Advisor at ConsumerLab, says: “Over half of the smartphone owners interviewed believe that the internet has increased the possibility for whistleblowers to expose corrupt or illicit behavior in companies and organizations. This is perceived as positive. However, there are concerns about privacy and the internet and 64 percent of smartphone users would like to be able to stop negative information about themselves being posted online.”
20 percent of younger smartphone users admit that they regularly post a photo of someone they don’t know. Striking a balance between stopping information posted about themselves, and the wish to share information posted about others, is part of an equation that has to be resolved in a future sharing culture.
Consumers want the protection of personal information to be a priority on the political agenda.
The report also points out that as information sharing and consumer influence grow as more people gain access to the internet, it is becoming increasingly important to create a culture of sustainable information sharing where all can benefit, while protecting the individual’s privacy.
The report, titled Sharing Information, is based on a survey of over 5000 smartphone users aged 15-69 based in Berlin, Chicago, Johannesburg, London, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, São Paulo, Sydney and Tokyo.
Notes to editors
Ericsson ConsumerLab is a global consumer research unit that studies consumer use of, and attitudes to, ICT in more than 40 countries annually. As Ericsson’s voice of the consumer externally and internally, Ericsson ConsumerLab helps customers as well as industry organizations and policy makers understand the implications of consumer needs.
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