Most analysts and commentators agree that 2014 was the year mobile reached a tipping point. With over 1 billion mobile smartphones in circulation, 2014 marked the first year that mobile Internet usage surpassed desktop use in the U.S. This trend will continue as users spend more time on mobile apps than on the Web. Mobile traffic climbed to record levels last year, with users checking their mobile devices an average of 150 times a day. Mobile commerce grew dramatically, much faster than desktop e-commerce, and is projected to reach $293 billion in the U.S. by 2018. And just as important, a growing number of consumers are experiencing a “mobile mind shift” to an expectation of real-time, location-driven, context-specific user experience and engagement.
It is no surprise, then, that 2014 may also have been the year that consumer concern about mobile privacy and data security finally caught up to consumers’ wide acceptance and use of the platform. As we have written about previously, Uber’s recent privacy debacle is but the latest example of companies that came under intense consumer and regulatory scrutiny in 2014 for their privacy failings. Last year also saw an extraordinary number of data breaches, including the disclosure by JPMorgan Chase of an issue that may have affected up to 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, many of whom were mobile banking customers.
The ink is barely dry on 2015 and data privacy and security have already jumped to the forefront of our national conversation. Last week, President Obama announced two proposed federal data privacy and security bills. The week before, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez warned at the Consumer Electronics Show of the privacy and data security risks of the Internet of Things. Mobile’s inexorable march – be it through apps or the IoT – will continue to demand more and more attention from lawmakers and regulators as privacy and security concerns grow.