Monday, January 19, 2015

Privacy Attitudes
and Software Development

In a recent Harris Interactive survey, they asked 2,100 adult Americans about their concerns about online privacy. Ninety-nine percent of the people care about their privacy online. Seventy-one percent care deeply about it.

When asked about the online platforms that they are concerned about most, the responses were:

  • Social media networks like Facebook - 66%
  • Email - 56%
  • Web browsers - 52%
  • Search engines - 45%
  • Social photo-sharing platforms like Instagram - 35%
  • Mobile apps - 30%
  • Online dating apps - 27%
  • Instant messaging apps like What's App - 23%
  • Micro-blogging sites like Twitter - 23%
  • Disappearing photo-sharing apps like Snapchat - 22%
  • Smart wearable devices like Google Glass - 18%
  • Online games - 17%

According to an article in the September 19, 2014 issue of Processor Magazine, a study by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies, and craigconnects found that while 33% of users between 55 and 64 don't trust social networking sites, only 12% of users younger than 35 mistrust these sites.

What does all of this privacy data mean for software developers? Privacy is important. There are a lot of people who won't buy your software unless you convince them that you've protected their privacy.

As with most marketing issues, this doesn't mean that software developers should simply tout the strength of their privacy regimens. It means that developers should build rock-solid privacy into their software, and then describe it convincingly on their Internet product pages. Marketing starts with software design, and should never be the coat of paint that you add after you've crafted your application.

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