A new survey from software security company AVG announced today reveals that a full 25 percent of mobile users keep “intimate photos or videos” on their smartphones or tablet devices, a surprisingly high number given that only 36 percent said they would be comfortable checking their bank balances from a smartphone screen. AVG surveyed 5,107 smartphone users in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany and Brazil to get a broad look at how pervy we all are.
The number stands in contrast to other results indicating people are generally reluctant to perform sensitive tasks on mobile devices. Only 35 percent use their gadgets for online shopping, for example, and only 38 percent will chance any kind of online banking task, according to the survey results. But take a quick nude selfie in the bathroom to Snapchat to a significant other over lunch hour? No problem, says one in four.
Though actually, transmitting the pics and video may not be quite as common. The relatively high comfort level with taking and storing smutty pics might be precisely because users aren’t actually doing much transferring of those photos to begin with. A 2012 Pew Internet report found that only 15 percent of adults polled admitted to having received a sexually suggestive “nude or nearly nude” pic on their devices, a number which has remained static since May 2010. That could mean that even if people are taking boudoir pics, they’re still mostly for local, personal use rather than sharing far and wide. If something is just living on your local device, rather than being transmitted over the air, it probably feels a lot more secure to most users, hence the still fairly high hesitation around online banking.
Despite a quarter of mobile users carrying around potential blackmail boxes loaded with sensitive pics, around 70 percent of users weren’t aware of tech like the mobile data-wiping feature built into every iPhone via iCloud, or the various Android remote data-deletion features and services available.
Let’s face it: Smartphones are convenient, constantly around and take great pics and high-quality videos. If people weren’t using them for “intimate” portraiture I’d be more shocked. Still, look around at the closest four people and try to figure out which one is the one with dirty pics on their phone right now. Who are we kidding? If you’re here, reading this, it’s you.