EMC’s Privacy Index study reveals consumers’ conflicting views


This week, EMC announced the results of its Global Internet Privacy Index, a 15,000 consumer study exploring how consumers across the globe view their online privacy rights. It also measures willingness to forfeit the benefits and conveniences of the connected world for the assurances of privacy. Out of 15 countries, the UK ranked 12th in terms of willingness to trade privacy for greater convenience.

59 percent of respondents in the UK feel they have less privacy now than they did a year ago and almost 85 percent of them expect privacy to erode over the next five years. There is a long standing debate over how much visibility governments and businesses should have regarding people’s private activities and this has continued into the online world.

However there appears to be some conflicting views. Only half of citizens in the UK have confidence in the skills of organisations protecting personal data but almost 70 percent of them do not change their passwords regularly and 43 percent don’t use password-protection on their mobile devices.

It is clear that people want the benefits of technology without sacrificing privacy. From this global study, three privacy paradoxes emerged:

  • We want it all” paradox – Consumers want all the conveniences of technology but are unwilling to trade privacy to get them
  • “Take no action” paradox – Consumers take no action to protect their privacy despite privacy risks having a direct impact on them, and place the onus on those handling the information i.e. government and businesses
  • “Social sharing” paradox – Social media users say they value privacy, yet willingly share large quantities of data on these sites

The businesses that will succeed are the ones who demonstrate the most reliable and practical privacy guidelines for their customers. They need to find ways to improve privacy across their offerings without compromising user experience, performance or capability.

Viewpoints on privacy will of course vary wildly depending on what situation you are in. The ‘Financial you’, who interacts with banks and other financial institutions will have different views compared to the ‘Social you’.

Jeremy Burton, President, Products & Marketing says “The unprecedented potential of Cloud and Big Data to drive commerce and societal advancement rests on a foundation of trust. Individuals need to know that their data not only is secure, but that its privacy is protected. The Privacy index reveals a global divergence of views around these critical issues of our time, and a warning call that responsibility for transparency, fairness, safe online behavior and trustworthy use of personal data must be shared by business, governments and individuals alike.”

For more information on the results, please click here, or take a look at the infographic below.

EMC_Privacy_Country_UK infographic

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