Lost Smart Phones and Human Nature
Symantec deliberately “lost” a bunch of smart phones with tracking software on them, just to see what would happen:
Some 43 percent of finders clicked on an app labeled “online banking.” And 53 percent clicked on a filed named “HR salaries.” A file named “saved passwords” was opened by 57 percent of finders. Social networking tools and personal e-mail were checked by 60 percent. And a folder labeled “private photos” tempted 72 percent.
Collectively, 89 percent of finders clicked on something they probably shouldn’t have.
Meanwhile, only 50 percent of finders offered to return the gadgets, even though the owner’s name was listed clearly within the contacts file.
Some might consider the 50 percent return rate a victory for humanity, but that wasn’t really the point of Symantec’s project. The firm wanted to see if—even among what seem to be honest people—the urge to peek into someone’s personal data was just too strong to resist. It was.
EDITED TO ADD (4/13): Original study.