We are now more interconnected than ever before, as sharing personal information online has become the new norm. However, more and more people are aware of the potential risks of sharing too much online. So, users start seeing and using the internet space differently.
The Digital Privacy Survey
This survey was conducted by Tinuiti, their second annual privacy study. The study aimed to determine the awareness, culprits, common beliefs, and preferences regarding digital privacy amongst different age groups.
So, a set of questionnaires was given to 1,000 US consumers from different walks of life. These questions covered various aspects of online privacy, and the participants had to vote for the most relatable ones. Their purpose was to curate a course of action based on survey results to help companies become more trustworthy to their consumers.
What were the questions?
Q1. Which of the listed options are you most worried will misuse data?
- Tech companies
- Advertisers Government Criminals Employers
- Insurance or Financial companies
- Health care organizations
Q2. Which one of the following types of data are you most concerned about being shared/tracked online?
- Information about my financial situation (income, debt, savings, etc.)
- Information about my medical history/conditions
- Products/websites I’ve viewed online
- Things I’ve posted or written online
- The information that could be used to steal my identity
Q3. Vote on the most relatable sentiment:
- I have control of my digital data
- I like it when the digital ads I see are relevant to me
- There’s no such thing as online privacy
- The government should be doing more to protect my online privacy
- Private companies should be doing more to protect my online privacy
- My mobile phone listens to my conversations and suggests products to buy based on what it hears
- When I get something for free online, I am the product
- None of the above
Results of the survey
From the first set of questions, it was understood that the biggest fear of internet users is criminal attacks. With 44% votes, misuse of personal data for cybercrime ranks first. It is mainly because many individuals and medium-scale companies have lost money and assets due to ransomware. However, the second concern of the netizens was the government spying on their private data for their benefit.
The next question focuses on the type of data they are most concerned about leaking. Identity theft ranked first here, mainly because this puts the users in a difficult situation with the law. The second precious data was financial details, including income, savings, debt, investment, etc.
The result of the last survey query made clear that one in five people think that they can’t control their data online. The adults were equally split between tech companies, the government, and themselves for this situation. At the same time, Gen Z (18 to 25) primarily finds tech companies to be the cause of this data breach.
Now, if this will be the scene of security and privacy, how can one feel safe while browsing the internet? The next section will provide you with the answer.
How to protect your data online?
According to Tinuiti’s survey, 55% of people delete browser cookies. However, taking this one step is not the optimum way to secure your data online. Here are the other methods:
- Think twice about the information you share online. Before sharing personal information, such as your address, birth date, or financial information.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication. It will help protect your accounts from being hacked. After all, the third step needs to be completed with a token you receive. Therefore, even if your password leaks, hackers won’t be able to complete the login process.
- Monitor your activity. Keep an eye on your online activity and look for any red flags, such as unexpected changes in your account settings.
- Use a Virtual Private Network to hide your internet traffic and route it through a server in another location. This rerouting creates difficulties for online entities to track your online activity. Initiate a VPN download that promises strong encryption, such as AES 256-bit and a no-logs policy. It is important that a selected VPN provider also treats your data with integrity.
- Use a private search engine. Such search engines do not track your online activity or store browsing history. DuckDuckGo and Brave are great examples.
- Cover your webcams with tape or buy a webcam cover to stop getting spied on by cybercriminals physically.
Digital privacy is a complex issue, but there are steps you can take to protect your data. Familiarize yourself with the laws surrounding digital privacy and data protection. It will help you know when your rights are being violated. Keep your software up to date and back up your data. Such care will help you recover your data if lost or stolen.