Major new privacy research shows worry for safety of personal data

New digital privacy research from the Pew Center in the US has found that nearly two thirds of Americans have personally experienced a data breach, and that a sizeable share of the public believes that their personal data has become less secure in the past five years.

The research, part of an ongoing series that has previously found that many  participants felt they had lost control of their personal data, was carried out midway through 2016, a year particularly notable for its cyber breaches.

It found that overall 64 per cent of adults who took part had experienced some kind of data breach. These included 41 per cent who had issues with fraudulent use of credit cards, 35 per cent receiving notices that some kind of sensitive information such as an account number had been compromised and 16  per cent having someone take over their email accounts.

Over and above this, 49 per cent feel that their personal data is less secure than it was five years ago – and the two entities they trust least to keep their data safe are the federal government and social media platforms. Interesting, 64 per cent also have at least one online account containing sensitive data such as health or financials.

So what can we learn from this? That the threat of having data or accounts hacked is alive and well, because current collection methods collate data from all users together, creating a massive honeypot for would-be hackers.

We can also conclude that people feel forced to entrust their data to businesses and services that they are not convinced will take care of it, because they have no other option if they want to access them.

Overall, this is a picture of an industry ripe for change and disruption – a new way of storing data that puts individuals back in control of what they create, able to hold it in a secure place of their choosing, and then do with it what they choose, on their terms.

This is a picture of an industry – and a society – very much in need of the Internet of Me – and we’re working every day to make that a reality as quickly as possible.

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