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Internet Users in Germany and the UK More Active About Protecting Personal Data

They take greater steps to manage online access to their personal data than the average EU user

January 6, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

Internet users in Germany and the UK are more likely than the average internet user in the EU to provide personal information online. But they are also more careful than average about who they share that information with, paying more attention to things like privacy policy statements and geographical location access than their peers in many other EU member states.

Actions Taken by Internet Users in France, Germany and the UK to Manage Access to Their Personal Information Online, Q2 2016 (% of respondents)

According to a December 2016 report from Eurostat, more internet users ages 16 to 74 in Germany and the UK took steps to manage online access to their personal data than the EU average in the 12 months prior to polling in Q2 2016. While 37% of internet users in the EU on average read privacy policy statements, 45% of those in Germany and 43% of users in the UK did the same.

Likewise, just 31% of internet users in the EU restricted access to their geographical location, while 36% did so in Germany and 38% took such steps in the UK. One in two UK users limited access to their profile and content on social networks, a full 10 percentage points higher than the EU average. Germany ranked 1 point higher than average by that measure.

And while about 45% of internet users in the EU refused to allow the use of their personal information for advertising purposes, 55% of users in Germany and 54% in the UK made the same refusal.

It’s worth noting, however, that more users in Germany and the UK provided personal information online than the regional average—the 88% in the UK and 80% in Germany who did so surpassed the 71% average among EU internet users overall—so their degree of personal data diligence isn’s exceptional. In fact, Germany and the UK were far from the most proactive when it came to digital privacy precautions. Eurostat’s study showed internet users in Luxembourg had the highest rates for proactively guarding their personal data online, followed by Finland, the Netherlands, Demark, Estonia and Austria depending on the specific action examined.

—Ben Clague

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