Half of UK happy to have data tracked

Data tracking

Half of the UK are happy to have their online behaviour and personal data tracked by advertisers, as long as they get some free or less costly content.

Of UK respondents, 49 per cent said they were happy to accept such a "trade off," KPMG found.

Today's results came after last week's furore surrounding the Carrier IQ app, which is able to log what smartphone users are doing on their devices. A researcher claimed the app had been installed in millions of phones without user consent.

RIM, Nokia and a host of operators have reportedly denied allowing the app to feature on devices, however.

Consumers' concerns over privacy and data security have increased over the last few years.

Yet it seems many will not be upset by tracking as long as they gain from it. Globally, 62 per cent said they would happily have their online activity logged as long as they got knock down prices on web content.

"This provides a significant revenue opportunity for businesses if they can manage and then monetise their customers' dataset," KPMG said.

At the same time, 48 per cent of global respondents said they had a "very high level of concern" regarding security and privacy when choosing a mobile phone.

The UK is particularly afraid of online banking, with only 27 per cent using such services in the last six months, compared to 52 per cent globally. Two thirds of UK respondents said they were concerned about the potential for credit card data to be intercepted by hackers when banking from a mobile phone.

"Consumers' concerns over privacy and data security have increased over the last few years and companies across all sectors need to take this concern seriously," said Tudor Aw, KPMG's European head of technology.

"Whether its retailers or banks, consumers want transparency as to what companies do about data security and they want third parties to certify this security."

UK ahead of the pack

Despite a reluctance to reap the benefits of internet banking, the UK is ahead of the curb when it comes to adopting technologies.

Three quarters of UK respondents to the KPMG survey said they were more likely to buy flights and holidays online, whilst 77 per cent prefer to get their CDs, DVDs, books and video games on the internet.

Almost half are now using mobile devices to find stores, whilst a fifth are scanning barcodes for product information.

However, the KPMG study indicated the UK public is a little more wary of the cloud when compared to other nations. Only 53 per cent said they stored personal data in the cloud, compared to 65 per cent worldwide.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.