Over Half of Users Find Locatiosn Based Services Valuable

A study by Microsoft has highlighted new business opportunities for firms based around increasingly popular location based services, although many users are still concerned about loss of privacy.

In a study of some 1,500 people, sampled from the UK, US, Canada, Japan and Germany, Microsoft found that 51 per cent. Some 94 per cent of these said they considered these services to be valuable.

Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer at Microsoft, said that the firm had studied public perceptions in the run up to Data Privacy Day on 28 January. He added that while some users had confessed to fears about personal security this could be assuaged with some careful development work and consideration of the issues involved.

"Technologies and services that track, analyse and share individuals' movements have proliferated in recent years," he wrote in a blog post.

"With more and more people connecting to the internet through mobile devices, and with location based services surging in popularity, new concerns are emerging about how individuals' movements are tracked and analysed."

The survey showed the "enormous potential" that location based services offer businesses, as long as they give users the sort of security affirmation that they need, said Lynch.

In its study, Microsoft found that around 84 per cent of respondents had concerns about privacy, and how located based data is compiled and used. Roughly the same amount were worried about identity or data theft, while 83 per cent were concerned about a loss of privacy.

Respondents said they wanted more control over the services, and would be more comfortable with them if they could "easily and clearly manage" how their information is used.

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