Most Europeans don’t trust public authorities with their personal data - The EE

Most Europeans don’t trust public authorities with their personal data

In a world driven by technology, our online personal data and how it is used is of huge concern for many of us. From the local government to police, public authorities’ databases hold a significant amount of our personal information, but do we really trust them with this data?

Interested in information privacy, Reboot Online analysed the latest data from the European Commission to discover which European citizens trust thepublic authorities in their country with personal data the least.

Reboot Online found that citizens in Spain (78%) trust the public authorities with their personal data the least.

In second position is Ireland, where 73% of people are skeptical about how public authorities in the country handle their personal data.

Belgium, France and the United Kingdom are in joint third place as 68% of citizens in each country lack confidence in the public authorities’ ability to oversee their personal data in a secure and diligent manner. In fourth spot is Bulgaria, where 67% of citizens do not have full faith in the management of their personal data by public authorities.

Luxembourg (66%) and Greece (65%) are among the other European countries where the majority of citizens mistrust the way public authorities keep and utilise their personal data, respectively ranking fifth and sixth.

On the other end in 19th place, it seems individuals in Finland are most assured by public authorities’ supervision of their personal data, with only 29% of Finns questioning the security of their personal data with public authorities.

Just above Finland is Estonia in 18th position, where 2 in 5 citizens are not entirely convinced if public authorities in the country are competently looking after their personal data.

Interestingly, on average from all the assessed countries, 61% of Europeans don’t trust public authorities with their personal data.

Shai Aharony

Shai Aharony, the Co-Founder and managing director of Reboot Online commented, “Personal data is a highly sensitive issue and one that many of us care about deeply. Rightfully so, because every time we disclose personal information online, we are putting it into the trust of someone else. So, the expectation is for reputable private and public organisations to be very careful in the way they store and use our personal data.”

“This though is not always the case and this research highlights the European citizens who are most concerned about how public authorities in their country manage their personal data. Whilst the level of trust in public authorities with regards to personal data varies between countries, all private and public organisations need to be highly transparent, responsible and ethical when it comes to how they keep and utilise people’s personal data.”

Reboot Online’s top tips to better protect your personal information online:

  • Read privacy policies 

A recent study by Addictivetips.com found that an astonishing 87% of people accept privacy policies without reading them. As strenuous and boring as it sounds, get into the habit of reading the privacy policy of websites. Reading them can help with understanding how a website uses your personal information and if they share this personal information with any third parties. Avoid sites which don’t have a privacy policy, or where it is not clearly or thoroughly explained.

  • Don’t overshare on social media

For many of us social media is a key part of our everyday lives but as much as we enjoy different online platforms, be cautious not to overshare. Avoid posting personal information such as your full name, address, email, phone number and bank details on social media for your protection otherwise you could be susceptible to identity theft.

  • Think twice about public Wi-Fi

If you are using public Wi-Fi in places such as coffee shops, libraries, hotels and airports, then be very careful. Wi-Fi connections in such locations may not be encrypted, meaning any information you send across their network might not be protected and therefore, you could be vulnerable to malicious malware attacks.

  • Be aware of impersonators

In any circumstance, do not share your personal information via email or over the internet unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. If a company who you do not typically deal with asks for your personal information via these means, then go to their website and contact their customer services team to verify their authenticity.

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