User perception of location-based services : attitudes, behavior and privacy concerns

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Abstract: Compared to the use of a traditional mobile phone, a smartphone user may experience advanced computing capability and connectivity. Internet connection along with advanced technology allows users to access the web, GPS navigation system, WIFI hotspot, etc. Today it is considerably easier for smartphone users to benefit from the global Internet connection with its extended range. A service that has expanded enormously and shaped a whole new industry in a short period of time, is location-based services (LBS). The service shows location information using coordinates providing the geographical position of a mobile device. Depending on the user’s location and preferences, mobile service providers may introduce context-related information to the user. However, LBS does not only involve opportunities, improvements, and benefits for societies. The use of digital technologies, with such spread as location-based services has obtained, may result in major integrity issues.   The aim of this qualitative investigation is to explain and describe location-based services. The purpose is to, through structured interviews, create an understanding of the users’ perception of LBS and investigate their attitudes, behavior and privacy concerns. The following understanding might be of value to application development companies regarding the comprehension of user behavior and attitudes. In turn, it could be of assistance for these companies in reaching the users in order to maximize the use of their applications.   The analysis showed that the respondents of this study are receptive to location-based services as long as it provides them with value. However, privacy concerns might intervene but are in most cases overlooked. The user’s perceived value is by the informants considered to be more important than the minor obstacles of LBS. In terms of LBS usage behavior, the respondents willingness to share location information differs among them and is based on different reasonings. The indication of user acceptance also differs. However, the informants’ perception of LBS purpose was discussed from both user and business perspective. It was concluded that it might be an indication of user acceptance since the respondents were able to recognize value deriving from location-based services. Additional LBS behavior is recognized in the process of allowing LBS access to apps.

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