Here Technologies study reveals public concern over location data sharing


According to a major new study by Here Technologies, a fundamental rethink is needed in the way that companies gather and use location data in order for people to embrace new services such as connected and autonomous vehicles and drone deliveries.

Mistrust, concern and uncertainty over how companies and service providers collect and use location data are revealed in Here’s survey of 8,000 people across eight countries, with many respondents concerned about possible abuses of public trust. According to the study, just 20% of people feel they have full control over their personal location data, with 44% sharing location data with apps and service providers unintentionally, despite trying to restrict access.

A total of 76% of the participants are left feeling stressed or vulnerable about sharing their location data. The main reasons why respondents felt trust was being abused are insufficient controls for management of personal data, coupled with a lack of transparency on the part of data collectors. As one of the major collectors and users of location data, the survey’s finding will be of particular concern to the transportation industry, which relies on this information for multiple services.

Other key findings of the survey included:

• Around 65% of people have shared their location data with an app or service provider at least once;

• Just a quarter of respondents said they were aware of what happens with their location data once it is collected;

• Despite expressing major concerns about sharing their location data, the clear majority do not actively engage with their location data settings on their devices;

• Less than a fifth trust in laws and regulations to protect against misuse of their location data;

• Less than a fifth trust that services collecting their location data will handle their data appropriately.

The study also revealed that increased transparency and control over how location data is collected and used could increase consumer trust and make them more willing to share.

Around 70% said they would grant access to a data collector if they knew why their location data was needed, what it was used for, and that it was protected, stored safely or systematically deleted.

“Autonomous transportation and other new services will require increasingly time-sensitive and machine-to-machine communications, and for people to enjoy uninterrupted access to these kinds of services, a new approach to privacy is needed,” noted Dr Peter Kürpick, chief platform officer at Here Technologies.

“We believe the answer is in equipping people with transparent user-friendly settings that allow them to grant and withdraw access rights, as well as manage their privacy preferences, helping them stay in better control of what they’re sharing across their digital life.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).