Majority expects privacy to erode in years ahead

Summary:According to EMC's Privacy Index, privacy isn't dead, but consumers around the world are expecting it to erode over time.

Eighty-one percent of consumers say they expect privacy to erode over the next five years, according to a study from EMC.

EMC's Privacy Index ranked countries by privacy and examined how much consumers are willing to give up for convenience. The report covered 15 countries and 15,000 consumers.

emc privacy survey

The data is interesting given the Edward Snowden leaks and revelations about government snooping into social media, email accounts and instant messaging to name a few. What EMC's report shows is that technology almost naturally encroaches on privacy and consumers are generally confused about what they give up. Consumers want convenience but most won't give up privacy for it, but don't do anything to protect their data and share data on social networks.

Among the key findings:

  • 91 percent value digital technology, but only 27 percent say they are willing to trade privacy for convenience online. 

  • 85 percent of respondents value digital tracking of criminals and terrorists, but 54 percent are willing to trade some of their privacy to track the bad guys. 

  • Respondents over 55 care about privacy more. 

  • 40 percent of respondents don't customize privacy settings on social networks. 

  • 51 percent said that businesses using, selling or trading personal data are the biggest threat to privacy.

  • Brazil and the U.S. had the most respondents saying they lost privacy over the last year.

Topics: Security, Privacy


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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