NEWS23 June 2014

A quarter of consumers willing to trade some privacy for online convenience

North America Privacy

US — A global internet privacy study has revealed that just 27% of consumers say they are willing to give up some online privacy in exchange for greater convenience and ease online.

The EMC Privacy Index, which surveyed 15,000 consumers in 15 countries, assessed consumer attitudes of online privacy. According to the results:

  • 91% of respondents value the benefit of easier access to information and knowledge that digital technology affords
  • 27% said they were willing to trade some privacy for greater convenience and ease online
  • 41% believe their government is committed to protecting their privacy
  • 59% say they have less privacy than a year ago
  • 81% expect privacy to erode over the next five years
  • Respondents aged over 55 were less willing to trade privacy for convenience
  • Respondents in India were most willing to trade privacy for convenience, with highest index score of 61
  • Those in Germany least likely to make this trade, with index score of 36

The study reported a number of apparent behavioural paradoxes: ; the “we want it all” paradox, which revealed that people on the whole value the benefit of digital access, but are unwilling to trade privacy for it; the “take no action” paradox, which highlighted that while over half of respondents had experienced a data breach, many had taken no action to protect themselves; and the “social sharing” paradox, which suggested that social media use continues to grow rapidly, despite a belief that institutions are doing little to protect privacy on these sites.

Michael Kaiser, executive director at the National Cyber Security Alliance, said: “The data captured in the EMC Privacy Index gives a fascinating view into the attitudes of global consumers and validates a fundamental point – respecting privacy and safeguarding data is a core value that should be shared by businesses, governments and individuals to enable a more trusted ecosystem.

“If organisations are transparent and accountable for their information management practices, individuals will be able to better manage their digital lives consistent with how they want to share information about themselves.”

Full findings can be found here.



10 years ago

Hang on... Overall: 27% of people willing to trade privacy for convenience Most willing: India, at 61% Least willing: Germany, at 36% So how's the overall stat manage to be lower than the "least willing"? Looking at the actual report (p.9-10), it seems there was a yes/no question, "Would you trade?", and then for the country figures, "Data was normalized by putting the attributes on a 0-100 scale" (somehow or another). So the overall and country figures are not actually comparable, which isn't a great bit of quant reporting. Secondly, shouldn't the headline be that 51% AREN'T willing to make this trade? That's (potentially) the real finding - that there's majority unwillingness (and a further 22% are confused and can't answer it).

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10 years ago

Shouldn't the headline be something like "X% of consumers misleadingly say they would not trade privacy for convenience"? Most people who are buying with debit cards, credit cards, store cards, or buying online, or using loyalty cards or coupons, or shopping at their local convenience store are handing over large amounts of information and compromising their privacy. They are doing it for the convenience of lower prices, for the convenience of shopping locally, for the convenience of not having to shop in person, for the convenience of not having to risk out of stocks, the convenience of not have to interact with people, for the convenience of speed - and for a wide variety of other forms of convenience. One of the things that is drawing criticism of market research is when we present survey results that contradict behaviour. Most research that says people value their privacy fail to take into account the real world situation that people compromise there privacy all the time, usually for relatively small benefits. Which implies that the value most people put on their privacy, at the moment, is actually quite small. We might think or believe people should be more privacy conscious. But can we really say people are privacy motivated?

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