As digital transformation continues, the sheer amount of data available on each individual grows exponentially and increases in value. Consumers understand the importance of data in modern society. They clearly want companies and governments to be held accountable and be transparent about what they are doing with data.
To better understand how US and European consumers view data protection and encryption backdoors, Venafi recently conducted a study into the topic. 4,127 consumers participated from France, Germany, the UK and the US.
According to the survey, consumers do not trust major cyber security talking points pushed by their governments. On one side, government officials in nearly every country believe the security risks inherent in government-mandated encryption backdoors are less important than giving law enforcement broad access to encrypted personal data. However, U.S. and European consumers overwhelmingly disagree with this type of prioritization. When asked if laws allowing governments to access encrypted personal and private data would make them safer from terrorists, nearly two-thirds (64%) did not agree.
The survey also found that on average, only 30% of consumers trust the government to protect their personal and private data. The UK were the most trusting of their government with data (40% and the US were the least trusting (24%).
Most interestingly, within the consumer respondents, there were significant differences across generations, with 25-34 year olds being the most trusting (40%) and 45-54 year olds the least trusting (21%).
Not surprisingly, even fewer consumers trust social media companies with their personal and private data. Two thirds (66%) of global consumers surveyed wouldn’t trust social media companies.
As in previous questions, the UK was the most trusting of social media organizations (31%) and German respondents were the least trusting at just 16%.
The results also showed another generational shift in opinions, as only 9% of 55-64 year olds trust social media companies to protect their data, compared to 35% of 25-34 year olds.
With so few respondents trusting social media companies with their data it makes sense that 80% of those surveyed believe social media organizations that store personal and private data should be subject to stricter privacy regulations. Across the board those aged 55-64 were most supportive of this (86%), compared to just 76% of those aged 26-24.
The UK was most in favour of increased privacy regulations for social media companies (87%), and Germany was the least (75%).
“It’s clear the public is nearly as skeptical of government claims around privacy and security as they are of the same claims coming from social media companies,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi. “Since we've seen governments and social media firms mishandle private data, often egregiously, this shouldn't be surprising. Additionally, many politicians and law enforcement officials wish to use surveillance tools and backdoors that most consumers associate with authoritarian regimes, not democracies. If we can’t trust governments to protect sensitive personal data, it’s difficult to imagine how they will be able to regulate the private sector effectively.”
Do you believe the opinions of global consumers are warranted?