New Kaspersky research has found that consumers around the world want to take more action to protect and maintain control over their personal privacy. As revealed in the company’s latest report, Defending digital privacy: taking personal protection to the next level, consumers are becoming more aware of where their personal data is available online. In fact, in South Africa, 77% say they have tried to remove private information from websites or social media channels. However, 47% admit that they have no idea how to go about it.
These findings reveal how fundamental protecting the privacy of our personal data and interactions online is to make sure we all continue to benefit from technology. The report, which includes findings from a new consumer survey carried out in 23 countries, examines current consumer attitudes towards online privacy and what steps people are taking to keep private information from falling into the wrong hands.
Consumers have shown that it is not just their private information that they are worried about, but their loved ones’ too. For instance, the report reveals that 15% of local consumers claim that their personal data or information about their family has become publicly available without their consent.
Such occurrences are pushing consumers into making conscious choices about how and where their personal data is stored, to stop it being viewed or used by others who do not have permission to do so. A significant proportion of people apply additional measures when browsing the Internet, to hide their information from cybercriminals (56%), the websites they visit (35%), and other individuals accessing the same device (38%). Additionally, some consumers remain wary about storing personal information on their devices. For instance, 25% say they are concerned about personal data collected by the apps they use on their mobile devices.
These people may feel they are losing control over where their data is stored and are aware of the risks connected with sharing personal information. So, they understandably do not want it used by third parties without their knowledge.
Who are consumers keeping their browsing secrets safe from?
“There are many ways to control your digital footprint. One of them is to bear in mind who you share personal data with and understand how it may be used. Anything that is placed on the Internet may remain accessible to a wide range of people for a long time unless you take specific action to protect it. Understanding how to safely keep personal details on the Internet and efficiently manage where your data is stored is a step towards ensuring a positive online presence, improving your personal reputation and opening up future opportunities,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.
In order for consumers to better protect their data privacy, they need guidance on how to do so effectively. With this in mind, Patrick Penninckx, Head of Department, Information Society, Council of Europe adds:
“The annual “Global Privacy Research” carried out by Kaspersky offers useful tools to better understand the level of awareness and the overall perception Internet users have on exercising their right to privacy and personal data protection. Convention 108+ recommends promoting more widespread and meaningful use of data protection impact assessments, the application of the privacy by design principle and a proactive attitude towards data security requirements.”
To make sure your personal information remains protected on the Internet, Kaspersky advises consumers to:
- Keep a list of your online accounts so you have a full understanding of which services and websites may be storing your personal information
- Start using “Privacy Checker” that helps consider setting your social media profiles to private. It will make it harder for third parties to find highly personal information
- To identify potentially dangerous or questionable requests made by an app, and understand the risks associated with different types of common permissions, install Kaspersky Security Cloud. The product also incorporates a Do Not Track feature to prevent the loading of tracking elements that monitor your actions on websites and collect information about you
- European users can simplify the process of regaining control of personal information that may have been published without permission online by using Undatify. The new Kaspersky-backed service contacts organisations that may be storing personal data, so it can be shared with the user or even deleted under the GDPR regulations.