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Microsoft’s Survey Shows People Concerned About Online Privacy Like Never Before

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

It is no secret that we are now increasingly dependent on digital technology to carry out our day-to-day activities. However, the reliance on electronic gadgets and online services has also raised privacy concerns since a lot of digital services are designed to collect our personal data and share it with governments, big corporations and marketing companies. This viewpoint was also reinforced in a recent survey conducted by Microsoft which revealed that people are now more scared about online privacy than at any other time in history.

The survey was a part of Microsoft’s annual “View From Around The Globe” poll which made its debut last year. The poll was carried out between 17th December 2014 and 1st January 2015 and was conducted by global consultancy group Penn Schoen Berland. The survey targeted internet users from developed (United States, Germany, South Korea, Japan and France) as well as developing (China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey) countries to see the impact of consumer technology on the people from around the world. The poll results show that survey participants from almost all countries (with the notable exception of India) were of the opinion that modern technology has had a negative impact on privacy.

As per the results shared by Microsoft, 52 percent of respondents believed that consumer technology is having a negative impact on privacy while only 18 percent were of the opinion that it is having a positive impact. The survey also shows that people from developed countries are a lot more concerned about the impact of technology on privacy than internet users from developing countries. For instance, 64 percent of participants from developed countries believed that technology is bad for privacy whereas only 10 percent thought otherwise. But if you look at survey data from developing countries, you will find that only 45 percent respondents had a negative opinion about the impact of technology on privacy while 21 percent had a positive opinion. However, both the developed and developing countries saw a 5 point increase in the negative perception of technology as compared to the last year. If you are interested in learning how different nations fared in the poll, here are the results:

Developed Countries (Negative vs positive perception of technology on privacy)

– United States – 64% negative, 11% positive
– Germany – 61 negative, 10% positive
– Japan – 68% negative, 5% positive
– France – 68% negative, 9% positive
– South Korea – 54% negative, 14% positive

Developing Countries (Negative vs positive perception of technology on privacy)

– China – 48% negative, 18% positive
– Russia – 40% negative, 25% positive
– India – 32% negative, 35% positive
– Brazil – 54% negative, 19% positive
– Indonesia – 30% negative, 27% positive
– South Africa – 59% negative, 13% positive
– Turkey – 65% negative, 12% positive

The poll results also show that most users are not aware of the type of information that is being collected from them. Among the participants, 68 percent claimed that they were not aware of all types of personal information that tech companies were collecting about them while 32 percent thought otherwise. Here again there was a marked contrast between the opinions of respondents from developed and developing countries since 80 percent participants from developed countries feigned ignorance about the data collection practices of tech companies as compared to only 62 percent from developing countries.

February 25, 2015

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