Oh dear. This experiment, although not really surprising, is still terribly disappointing.
Symantec researchers intentionally lost 50 smartphones in cities around the U.S. and in Canada. They were left on newspaper boxes, park benches, elevators and other places that passers-by would quickly spot them. But these weren't just any phones -- they were loaded with tracking and logging software so Symantec employees could physically track them and keep track of everything the finders did with the gadgets.
As the report suggests, the most important need here is to educate people and make them aware of the risk:
Maybe before they had a smartphone, losing an old cell phone was devastating but there wasn't much information on it. Maybe it’s like the frog in a pot of cold water that’s eventually boiled – it wasn’t that bad losing their old phone, so people haven't thought through how much information is now on their smart phones and what could happen if they lost it. We hope this research shows what could happen and sticks out in people's minds.