Building a Website or App: Why Privacy Remains Key

When it comes time to build an app or website, keep in mind that privacy is key. Pew Research Center has some new data emphasizing how a significant percentage of users really dislike the idea of giving up all kinds of personal information in exchange for a service.

Pew’s survey, conducted in June 2019, found that 52 percent of respondents wouldn’t use a product or service because of data harvesting. Here’s a breakdown of what they specifically declined to use:

And here’s how respondents broke down what they specifically found problematic:

As you might expect, those Americans who had recently suffered some negative impact as a result of their personal data being misused—such as identity theft—were more unlikely to engage with services that harvested data. However, those who hadn’t suffered such indignities also exhibited a fair degree of paranoia; for example, 50 percent of those who’d never dealt with a data breach were unlikely to give up their personal information, versus 57 percent of those who’d endured such a breach. 

Of course, many app platforms already require some kind of privacy policy. For example, Apple made such a change to its developer policy in 2018. Moreover, any developer or firm that wants to comply with GDPR must have a policy in place; California law also stipulates a section on a website that clarifies the user’s rights.

In other words, there’s already a fair amount of legislative pressure. That means, from the very first stages of creating an app or service, you must prepare to be as open as possible about what information your app gathers, your partners, and what you’re doing with that data. That kind of clear language is vital; if you obfuscate, you leave yourself open to questions and suspicion. Let Pew’s new data serve as a reminder that users are indeed watching.