Economics Times, March 11, 2019
With a sample size of 2160 users across six states of India, the survey sought to unravel the users’ perspectives on privacy and data protection.
Despite the ever-increasing usage of digital technology, around 60% users fear unauthorised data collection, and only 11 percent users read privacy policies, reveals a survey by CUTS International.
The pan India survey while making a note of the fact that more females, young, and rural users are coming within the fold of digital technology than ever before, found that despite being uncomfortable, users reported sharing their information and around 16-18% reported discomfort in sharing their contact and address details and around 14% for email and personal photos.
As per its findings, almost 70% users feel the need to build capacity and awareness among users. Top three expectations of 59 percent of users from service providers were found to be purpose limitation, ensuring privacy and ensuring anonymity.
Despite the proliferation of digital technology around us, only 11 percent users read privacy policies, and only a small percentage of that claim to understand them and top 3 impediments were 3L’s- Length, language and legalese, stated the survey.
Interestingly, the survey reveals that while around 60 per cent users fear unauthorised data collection, they rely on the reputation of the service provider to boost their confidence while sharing data and most users don’t seem to have experienced data privacy violation, and among half of those who have experienced, didn’t report it ever.
With a sample size of 2160 users across six states of India, the survey sought to unravel the users’ perspectives on privacy and data protection. Among its notable findings are the observations that among new users (those using internet for 3 years or less), compared to males (18.3%), more female users are new users (25.7%), and more female users (53%) use digital technologies for shopping than males (46%).
According to it, most users do not think service providers use data for legitimate purposes and young users are most optimistic about positive use of data collected. Also, when compared with their male, experienced and urban counterparts, fewer number of female users, inexperienced and non-urban users think service providers share data with third parties.
To mitigate the risks associated around safety, the global policy research group further advocated that service providers need to better inform users of purposes of data collection, privacy, data protection and anonymisation practices to retain their trust and confidence in them.
Urging policymakers to work towards redesigning protection policies so that these remain in sync with the evolving needs of the digital era, the policy think-tank added that privacy policies and data protection tools need to be made more user-friendly and existing regulatory measures for ensuring accountability of service providers & grievance redressal mechanism need to be enhanced.
In order to increase confidence among online users, it noted that service providers need to make more efforts to prevent unauthorised data collection, data misuse, hacking and financial fraud.