More than eight-in-10 (84%) UK internet users are willing to share their personal data with websites and apps in exchange for free access to digital services, according to new research commissioned by Kaspersky. Its new data privacy heatmap explores the importance and concerns that consumers feel about their information. It reveals that despite privacy worries, users are willing to have companies monitor their online behaviour in return for discounts (41%), greater convenience online (43%) and ‘free gifts’ (38%).
Although almost every UK internet user (95%) finds data privacy important, only half (56%) feel that they are actually in control of how many organisations have access to their personal data. And while these attitudes are widely reflected across Europe, the UK is behind other nations on the continent when it comes to how much importance is placed on data privacy, and how much control people feel they have over their personal data. People in Italy (97%), Portugal (97%) and Hungary (98%) all have a greater focus on data privacy than UK respondents, while those from Italy (63%) and Hungary (61%) also feel they have more control over how many organisations have access to their personal data.
In the UK, however, more than eight-in-10 (83%) respondents are concerned their personal data will fall into the wrong hands over the next two years, and nearly two-thirds (62%) are concerned that their data will be stolen and used maliciously. But these anxieties don’t translate into behaviour, given Brits’ willingness for companies to monitor their online activities in return for discounts (41%), greater convenience online (43%) and gifts (38%).
With regards to sharing personal data with organisations, consumers have a low level of trust. Overall, Amazon and Google are the companies most trusted to look after data safely and responsibly, (55% for Amazon and 53% for Google), followed by the Government (52%) and Apple (47%). Of all the big tech firms, trust in Facebook for data privacy is perceived as the lowest, at just 30%. At the same time, however, the lure of convenient internet services has made many consumers less likely to take precautions to protect their data privacy or take control of their personal information from these organisations. In fact, over six-in-10 (63%) will accept all cookies when browsing a website in a hurry and, concerningly, three-in-10 (30%) use the same password across lots of different websites or apps.
“We now host more of our personal data online than ever before, and with a bigger online data presence comes an increased risk that this information may fall into the wrong hands,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher, Kaspersky. He continued: “To take control of their digital identity, all consumers must be vigilant about the information they share with online organisations, review privacy settings and make sure to use strong, unique passwords and two factor authentication on all digital services. Reviewing cookie policies is also important, to ensure consumers aren’t sharing more data with companies than they would like to. As always, the devil is in the detail.”
To find out more about attitudes towards data privacy and the pandemic, explore the findings in the Kaspersky data privacy heatmap.
 Kaspersky commissioned Arlington Research to undertake research amongst a nationally representative sample of 8,000 adults across nine European countries, including 2,000 in the UK, to explore the importance respondents’ place on data privacy and how prepared they are to share data following the pandemic.
 Respondents were asked to respond on a scale of 0-10 with answers 6-10 labelled as ‘Important’, ‘In control’ or ‘Concerned’.