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Data Protection: Nice To Have or Necessary?


This article is published in collaboration with Statista 

by Florian Zandt


While the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal about their misuse of large swathes of data collected from unwitting Facebook users did spark renewed interest in how user data should be protected, this operation was and is just the tip of the iceberg. Every registration at allegedly free online services comes with a price, namely offering up personal data, which is often acquired and re-sold by data brokers and can be used to create consumption, movement and usage profiles across the internet. This comes on top of information leaked via data breaches, which also often ends up with companies re-selling personal information.


Some services promise to scour these large databases and issue deletion requests on behalf of their users. Starting today, Mozilla, probably best known for its web browser Firefox, is offering a subscription service to U.S. residents that does just that called Mozilla Monitor Plus, an add-on to the existing Monitor offering. The price tag for improved privacy stands at $14 per month. As our chart based on Statista Consumer Insights data shows, there is only one among the 21 countries surveyed where a majority of respondents are worried about the misuse of their data.


The country in question is Spain, where 57 percent of survey participants have such concerns and 44 percent take active measures to protect their data. Survey participants are significantly less worried in some of the world's biggest economies, with only Germany and China barely clearing the one-third threshold in this regard. In the U.S. and the United Kingdom, 27 percent of respondents said they feared their data was being misused, while only 31 and 33 percent, respectively, claimed to protect their data in their online dealings.


The most obvious gap between the perceived threat of respondents' data being wrongfully used and the protection of said data can be seen in South Korea. While almost half of the people surveyed harbor concerns about data, only one in five claims to actively protect their personal information online.


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