Online privacy of personal data under question
Europeans share data online but worry about privacy
Three out of four Europeans accept that sharing data online is now part of everyday life, but worry about how companies might use their information. It is one of the key findings of a new Eurobarometer survey on data protection and electronic identity, commissioned by the JRC together with the Directorates-General for Justice and Information Society and Media.
The survey shows that 60 % of European internet users shop online or use social networks: during their online activity, almost 90 % of these submit biographical information, while 50 % share social information and 10 % sensitive information. However, 70 % are concerned about how companies use this data and feel they have little control over it. For example, 75 % of the citizens surveyed want the possibility to delete personal information online – the so-called right to be forgotten.
A number of Internet users – reveals the survey – actively protect their online identity: 62 % submit only the minimum required information to websites, 42 % use existing tools to limit unwanted emails and 23 % change the security settings of their browsers. Privacy statements embedded in websites do not seem to help: 62 % of internet users say that they do not understand, do not read, cannot find, or ignore them.
The Commission is currently preparing a reform of EU data protection rules (see IP/10/1462 and SPEECH/11/183). One of the key goals of the reform is encourage providers to increase transparency about their services and ensure appropriate security measures. The strategy aims to protect individuals' data in all policy areas, including law enforcement, while guaranteeing the free circulation of data within the EU.
- Speech: Viviane Reding Vice-President of the European Commission EU Justice Commissioner Your data, your rights: Safeguarding your privacy in a connected world Privacy Platform "The Review of the EU Data Protection Framework" Brussels, 16 March 2011
- Press release: European Commission sets out strategy to strengthen EU data protection rules