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Survey: As cell phone use rises, so do concerns over privacy

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Sarah Tew/CNET

(CBS News) Amid a new round of new smartphones launching this fall by tech giants like Apple, Nokia and Motorola, new questions of how Americans approach mobile phone use arise.

A survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project released Wednesday reveals that 88 percent of adults now own cell phones - up from 83 percent last year. Of those, 43 percent say they download apps to their phones.

Apps could be anything from mobile games to city guides. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tend to be popular on smartphone, as well.

As the popularity of cell phones rises, so do concerns over security and privacy. And they have good reason to be concerns. According to Pew, 31 percent of mobile phone owners have lost or had their phones stolen. And 12 percent say that their phone's data has been accessed by another person, leaving them with a feeling that their privacy had been invaded.

Other highlights from the Pew study include:

- 54% of app users have decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it

- 30% of app users have uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phone because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn't wish to share

- 41% of cell owners back up the photos, contacts, and other files on their phone so they have a copy in case their phone is ever broken or lost

- 19% of cell owners have turned off the location tracking feature on their cell phone because they were concerned that other individuals or companies could access that information

The Pew survey was conducted nationally with 2,254 respondents, age 18 and older, between March 15 and April 3 over landlines and cell phones. Interviews were in English and Spanish. The sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percent.
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