As Mobile Internet Booms, Security and Privacy Concerns Loom: Report

By CIOReview | Monday, July 13, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: Upgrading networks to offer mobile Internet is an incremental step that is being adopted even faster than mobile telephony, reported the Global Internet Report by The Internet Society. The report explores mobile Internet availability, affordability, and relevance to potential users, and highlights opportunities as well as challenges to ensure all users can enjoy the full benefits of mobile access to the open Internet.

This report defines mobile Internet as full mobile access to the Internet using smart devices. It has brought around 3Bn users online. Mobile Internet has already surpassed fixed access in many countries because of limitations in the coverage of the fixed network. Therefore, the mobile internet is central to the Internet Society vision that ‘The Internet is for everyone’.

Key findings of the report include:

More than 300Bn people around the world uses internet, out of which only 100Mn are able to use the Internet via a mobile device such as a smartphone. There are over 1Mn apps available, which have been downloaded more than 100 billion times. Smartphone sales are the majority of mobile handsets sold worldwide; tablet sales will soon exceed total PC sales. Time spent using apps exceeds time spent on mobile browsers, and in the US, at least, exceeds time spent on desktop and mobile browsers combined. The report forecasted that mobile internet penetration may reach up to 71 percent in the coming years.

Mobile Internet has provided many benefits to the users like:  plenty opportunities for general education and trade; entertainment; smart devices to send automatic alerts when the user’s personal security is in danger; and sensors in smart devices, including barometers, accelerometers, and others, enables users to be a part of the emerging Internet of Things. In short, the report highlights the usefulness of mobile internet touching every aspect of life.

Challenges ahead for the Mobile Internet:

The privacy concerns are heightened by security risks, as we put valuable personal data on our smart devices where they may be accessed by others. The installation of apps brings risks similar to installing any software on any computer, although app stores are able to screen for malware to protect customers. Apps provide convenient access to the advanced features of the phone such as the GPS or camera but app stores create costs for developers and customers and may limit competition.

Dealing with the Mobile Internet Challenges:

To tackle the challenges in greater adoption of the mobile internet, the users should be given ability to provide privacy permission in a simple way; collaborative Security approach to mobile security should be given importance; and should encourage multi-stakeholder support for the Open Web Platform, as a way to increase platform choices for users that is consistent with Internet Society’s OpenStand principles.