Most Europeans are not happy with how their data is being handled by businesses with which they do business, according to “Symantec’s 2015 State of Privacy Report 2015.” More than half (57%) of the survey participants said they are worried their data is not safe. Almost 60% reported they’ve experienced a data protection issue in the past.
Surprisingly, these concerns do not appear to have prompted Europeans to change their behaviors. Internet purchases are continuing to increase, and only 25% said they take the time to read sites’ terms and conditions. This may be due in large part to the difficulty of finding those terms and conditions on some sites.
Despite these behaviors, Europeans generally realize their data has value and needs to be better protected, but 66% admitted they don’t know what to do.
As Symantec pointed out in its report, it is clear that government and businesses need to do more to educate people on how to protect their information, whether it’s their banking details or their e-mails.
Phillip Carter, vice president for European enterprise infrastructure and software group at IDC, suggested: “Businesses should consider a channel to allow consumers to question how their data is being used and advocate more transparency. If businesses begin to act like trusted advisors and put privacy of consumer data at the heart of the business, the consumer is on a much better footing to feel more confident about their data.”
The research showed that the responsibility for protecting information “is relatively equal across government, business, and consumers.” The latter have indicated they are willing to pay for that protection in much “the same way that they would pay for travel or credit card insurance.” Indeed, 50% said they would pay for data protection the same as or more than they pay for credit card insurance, and 46% said they would pay the same as or more than they pay for their phone bill.
“It is clear we are at a tipping point,” concluded Symantec’s Darren Thomson. “It is now that business and government leaders should act to ensure their customers and the public can trust them sufficiently to share accurate data. The general public rightly believes the privacy and security of their data should be invested in. Data is fundamental to the development of business and society. The opportunities with data shared, analyzed, and used in a secure and private environment are endless. The data potential could revolutionize how we live today.”