New research: Global attitudes to privacy online

serversOur latest research looks at consumer attitudes towards online privacy, with the findings confounding presumptions that consumers – young or old – do not care about their privacy.

Undertaken by ComRes, it involved 10,354 interviews across nine countries (UK, Germany, France, Spain, India, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and Australia) and the key findings were:

  • Three quarters (79%) globally say they are concerned about their privacy online.
  • Two-fifths (41%) of consumers surveyed globally say that consumers are being harmed by big companies gathering large amounts of personal data for internal use.
  • Two out of three (65%) of consumers surveyed believe that national regulators should do more to force Google to comply with existing regulations concerning online privacy and the protection of personal data.

Online privacy is a global issue of real importance to people and the overwhelming message is that citizens do not feel their authorities are doing enough to the desire of large companies to collect vast amounts of data on them. You can read the full research below.

The widespread support for EU regulators to do more to ensure Google complies with existing privacy regulations highlights how people want to see real, concrete action taken to protect their privacy.

Germany has set an example to be followed, taking strong legal action against companies who do not respect people’s privacy. The fact many of the highest-profile privacy lawsuits have been tackled first there and data protection law is vigorously enforced clearly contributes to giving citizens feeling their rights are being defended. Sadly, around the rest of the world, it is clear people do not have this confidence and want more done to reign in companies like Google.”

Globally 79 per cent of people said they were concerned about their personal privacy online, with India (94%), Brazil (90%) and Spain (90%) showing the highest level of concern. In the UK the figure was 68% while Germany, which has one of the strongest data protection laws of any country, was the only country where a majority (56%) say they are unconcerned about their privacy online.

The research also found that 41% of people feel consumers are being harmed by big companies gathering large amounts of data, with European consumers far more likely to believe this than those in the rest of the world.

Consumers in South Korea, UK, Australia and France are the most critical of big companies gathering personal data while consumers in Brazil, India and Spain are the most sympathetic to them doing so.

The research also investigated the public’s attitude towards The EU’s current investigation into Google and its new privacy policy. In European markets, at least seven in ten (73%) say regulators were right to investigate Google’s privacy policy and how it allows the company to collect and combine data on consumers. Consumers in Australia, India and Brazil are supportive of the action taken.

Just under two out of three (65%) of consumers surveyed believe that national regulators should do more to force Google to comply with existing regulations concerning online privacy and the protection of personal data.