Monday, 9 January 2012

Let's get personal

One of the most important aims of the digital agenda is to assure the privacy of the internet users. Many new initiatives are designed to secure the internet connection between the users and the internet service providers, as well as to make sure that the data that the users give away are not transferred to other parties, stored nor used for other purposes - without an explicit consent of the users. The right to privacy of the users is seen as inherent to them and deserving high level of protection. It surprises therefore to see data that shows that users themselves do not consider their privacy as important as policy makers. A question was asked to citizens of all Member States: "Which of the following types of information and data that are related to you do you consider as personal?". The answers differ drastically between the various Member States and the type of data.
  • In general, Germany seems to be the country in which most citizens consider various types of data as personal, and Bulgaria where it is the least so.
  • Financial information is considered as not personal by more than a half of asked citizens in Poland and Romania only. 
  • The majority of Poles do not consider medical information as personal either (the view that is not shared as much by any other nationality).
  • Finns and Italians are the only nationalities with the majority of views that the information on fingerprints is not personal.
  • Surprisingly, home address is not seen as personal information by most nationalities. The exceptions here are: Poland, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latva, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK.
  • In most Member States also mobile phone number is seen as amibugous. A clear majority that considers it private may be found only in the UK, Austria, Ireland, Germany and Czech Republic.
  • How about photos? Do we think they should be seen as personal and protected? With more and more photo sharing online it doesn't surprise that only in Germany more than 60% citizens consider them as personal information/data.
  • In NONE of the Member States more than 52% citizens consider the following information/data as personal: work history (50% in Germany), who your friends are (52% in Germany), your tastes and opinions (50% in Germany), nationality (51% in Austria), things you do, e.g. hobbies, sports, places you go (46% in Germany).

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