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More Than 50 Percent Users Believe That It Is Impossible To Have Privacy On The Internet

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

If the results of a recent survey are to be believed, a majority of online users (over 50 percent) now believe that it is impossible to have privacy on the internet. The privacy study was conducted by German technology company Open-Xchange who surveyed 1000 users each from United States, United Kingdom and Germany and checked out their opinions regarding issues related to online privacy.

While most survey participants expressed doubt that they would be able to keep their personal data safe on the internet, 50 percent of the respondents said that they would stop using a website if they came to know that the service provider was sharing their data with third parties. Additionally, 36 percent of the respondents stated that they would check how and where their data was being stored and even make changes to it upon learning about such instances of data sharing. Only a tiny minority of the participants (6 percent) said that they would continue to use the website as usual even after becoming aware of the fact that the site operator or the service provider is sharing their data.

The survey results also throw a light on how people from different geographical areas view online privacy. Germans topped the list regarding having concerns about making financial transactions on the web with 23 percent participants from the country admitting that they do not carry out any online transactions at all (compared with 16 percent Americans and 6 percent British respondents). Similarly, more German survey participants deactivated their Facebook accounts (23 percent) in response to the changes made to the site’s privacy policy recently than British users (18 percent) or Americans (14 percent).

Regardless of the region, most respondents (72 percent overall) expressed frustration with long and complicated Terms and Conditions documents published by the service providers. 80 percent of the participants said that they would be willing to read the complete text of a Terms and Conditions document if it was shorter, 64 percent stated that they would read it if the main points were highlighted while 49 percent agreed to read it only if the language used in such documents was easier to understand.

Most survey participants (72 percent) also showed support for using security measures like encryption within emails and instant messages. 54 percent of the participants said that are willing to adopt encryption if it is easy to use (something as simple as clicking on a button), 47 percent said that they would use it if it comes as a standard with the applications while 47 percent said that they would only use it if they understand the technology behind it.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Open-Xchange’s CEO Rafael Laguna said that thanks to famous whistleblowers, most people now know that their privacy on the internet is severely compromised. On the positive side, he said, online users are now open to adopting new technologies and are even asking for help to monitor their communications and privacy. He also stated that the survey results also show that encryption technologies can become mainstream only if they are easier to use and understand.

November 5, 2015

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