Microsoft Studies Online Privacy Attitudes, Privacy Policy Accountability

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Consumers are mostly expected to take responsibility for their own data privacy. However, as anyone who has read a privacy statement knows, it’s unrealistic for us to understand what exactly we are agreeing to when we accept them in order to use our favorite websites and online tools.

Microsoft is recommending an alternative approach where organizations would be held more accountable for what they do with our data, as well as allowing consumers to have a say in how their personal information is used by companies.

Our Attitudes About Privacy

Following another successful Data Privacy Day 2014, Microsoft released an interesting graphic which illustrates both U.S. and European attitudes toward online privacy.

Who should be responsible for protecting your online privacy?

46% (US)/40% (Eur) said individuals should be responsible, 31% (US)/30% (Eur) said companies, and 23% (US)/30% (Eur) said government.

How can companies help protect your privacy?

45% (US)/42% (Eur) said companies could protect our privacy through technological innovations, 27% (US)/33% (Eur) mentioned usage transparency, and 28% (US)/25% (Eur) said our privacy could be protected through privacy controls.

For what activities are you willing to trade privacy for ease of use?

48% (US)/36% (Eur) said they would be willing to trade privacy for the ability to easily shop online, 44% (US)/32% (Eur) mentioned banking, 43% (US)/31% (Eur) would trade privacy for access to social networking sites, and 39% (US)/25% (Eur) would trade privacy for online games.

What would you like to be more informed about?

90% (US)/80% (Eur) said they would like to know with whom their data is being shared, 88% (US)/80% (Eur) said they want to know what type of data is being collected and shared, and by releasing a graph which 84% (US)/82% (Eur) wanted to know how their data is being used.

To what extent do you read privacy terms before clicking ‘accept’?

23% (US)/22% (Eur) said they already read the privacy terms in full before accepting them, 55% (US)/53% (Eur) said they read a little bit, and 21% (US)/23% (Eur) said they never read them before accepting them.

Where We Go From Here

Every day — not just the official Data Privacy Day — is a good time to think about where we are in terms of protecting our privacy online and where we want to go.

We must all be vigilant in fighting for strong data privacy protections. The first step is to make data privacy a priority in our lives.

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.