A recent survey finds that more Americans are taking action in response to privacy concerns in comparison to other nationalities, with many willing to switch services to protect their privacy.
Sixty-six per cent of respondents to a recent F-Secure survey agreed that they were concerned about their data being exposed to intelligence agencies while using online services, with 57 per cent saying they’d be willing to pay to prevent their data from passing through American, Russian or Chinese services and territories.
The survey asked nearly 9,000 respondents from eleven different countries – including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden – a series of questions about online privacy and security. Not only were the majority of respondents concerned about their online privacy, but respondents from several countries also agreed that they would switch services to ones more sensitive to their privacy needs.
This trend was most visible amongst American respondents. For example, 55 per cent of Americans surveyed said they’ve already changed their online behaviour in response to increasing privacy concerns. And 59 per cent of American respondents agreed that they’d be willing to switch search providers to avoid search-based profiling, compared with the survey average of 54 per cent.
Different concerns for different nationalities, but fewer Swedes worried about privacy
French respondents seemed concerned about privacy on mobile and new Internet of Things devices. Seventy-two per cent agreed that they’re worried about new Internet-connected devices leading to privacy violations. While 63 per cent agreed that they avoid using public Wi-Fi due to privacy and security concerns.
Many Germans expressed fears about the surveillance capabilities of intelligence agencies, with 67 per cent of German respondents agreeing that they were concerned about intelligence agencies in countries in which their data moves through.
However, privacy issues overall seemed to be less of a concern amongst Swedish respondents. There were some notable differences between responses given by Swedes compared with other nationalities. Some of these differences include:
- A quarter of Swedish respondents agreed that they’ve changed their online behaviour in response to increasing privacy concerns, compared with the survey’s average of 54 per cent.
- 31 per cent of respondents from Sweden agreed that they know where their personal data is stored online, compared with the survey’s average of 49 per cent.
- 46 per cent of Swedish respondents agreed that they’re worried about new Internet-connected devices leading to privacy violations, compared with the survey’s average of 69 per cent.
F-Secure Labs researcher, Mikael Albrecht attributed these differences to Swedes perceptions of their country being relatively secure. “Swedes perceive their country as safe and stable, especially when compared to countries like UK, USA and France, which have increased network surveillance aggressively. But while Sweden and many of the Nordic countries do enjoy relatively secure environments, this shouldn’t translate into becoming overconfident that their personal data will stay private while being exchanged online.”
There were also some surprising consistencies between countries. An overwhelming eighty per cent of respondents agreed that they avoid installing apps asking for unnecessary app permissions. Additionally, sixty per cent of respondents said that they avoid using public Wi-Fi due to security and privacy concerns, which is surprising given the effectiveness of using VPNs to protect data when using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Freedome is a VPN that gives people a hassle-free way to encrypt their communications over public Wi-Fi, change their virtual location to access geo-blocked websites and streaming services, and block malicious websites and online tracking attempts. With Freedome’s newest feature called Tracker Mapper, users can see blocked tracking attempts in real time on an informative visual map, helping them gain a better understanding on how they are being tracked online, and by whom.
Freedome is available for Windows PC, OS X, iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices. Annual multi-device subscriptions can be purchased from F-Secure’s website on Data Privacy Day at fifty per cent off the regular price using the code PRIVACYDAY at the checkout. Offer is valid only on the 28th January 2016.