A new piece of research has looked into attitudes and beliefs about privacy when it comes to mobile phones, following Vodafone's dramatic revelations about state surveillance and tapping mobile conversations earlier this month.
Predictably enough, the study, conducted by OnePoll and sponsored by Silent Circle (the private comms firm and outfit involved with the Blackphone) found that most people were cynical on the matter. Only 12 per cent of the 1,000 UK respondents believed their mobile calls and texts remained private – in other words, almost nine in ten think they're being listened in on. Indeed, 35 per cent admitted they were "careful what they say" during a mobile call, assuming their conversation will be heard by flapping intelligence agency ears somewhere.
One in four said they would actively avoiding making a call on a mobile in order to achieve some privacy.
However, some folks believe that it's fine to listen in on the general publics' phone chatter, with 20 per cent saying it was "okay" to do so.
It's not just the state which respondents said was partaking in surveillance, although that was the top suspected source of phone tapping, with 53 per cent of respondents citing the government as having the ability to do so. The police came second on 44 per cent, followed by mobile networks on 33 per cent, and criminals on 28 per cent.
Vic Hyder, Revenue Chief for Silent Circle, commented: "What our study confirms is that the wider working population of the UK are aware of the ever-increasing threats to the data we transmit via mobile technology. They know of eavesdropping capabilities, but in many ways are consigned to the abuse – not just from Government but from criminal scavengers and corporate competition."
He added: "Everyone feels the need for privacy at some time or another, practically each and every day. Whether it's closing the door to your office while negotiating contract details or turning your head in the coffee shop while discussing a family matter. Privacy is appreciated by all, and all should have a place to go to be private – even in a digital smartphone world with eyes and ears nearly everywhere."