Half of UK concerned internet is eroding personal privacy

Almost half of the UK's online population are concerned the internet is eroding their personal privacy, according to market research firm GlobalWebIndex.

Some 48% of the online population of the UK aged between 16-64 worry about the internet’s impact on their privacy, although the UK only ranks 24 out of 32 in a study that ranks how concerned countries are towards privacy.

Country % of people concerned web is eroding personal privacy Number of people (millions)
South Korea 68% 21.21
China 66% 303.44
Taiwan 61% 8.39
Malaysia 60% 8.32
Hong Kong 60% 2.42
Spain 60% 13.56
Mexico 59% 19.15
Philippines 58% 18.47
Singapore 58% 2.06
Turkey 56% 11.14
Saudi Arabia 56% 6.75
Canada 55% 12.04
US 55% 97.41
Argentina 53% 8.75
Ireland 53% 0.92
India 53% 69.25
UAE 52% 3.34
South Africa 52% 8.51
Australia 51% 6.67
Brazil 50% 38.08
Russia 50% 29.71
Poland 49% 8.10
France 48% 16.60
UK 48% 17.51
Germany 48% 21.28
Vietnam 48% 13.85
Italy 44% 9.52
Thailand 43% 6.30
Indonesia 42% 24.50
Japan 39% 24.12
Netherlands 37% 3.87
Sweden 17% 0.93

The study of 170,000 individuals, which was timed to coincide with today’s (28 February) Data Privacy Day, found that globally 56% of people are concerned the internet is eroding their privacy, with the South Koreans and Chinese being most worried.

Period % of people concerned web is eroding personal privacy Number of people (millions)
Sep 2010 48% 465.08
Feb 2011 48% 495.92
Jun 2011 49% 549.09
Nov 2011 50% 591.45
Q2 2012 49% 634.24
Q4 2012 55% 753.14
Q1 2013 57% 786.20
Q2 2013 56% 798.72
Q3 2013 56% 816.11
Q4 2013 56% 836.16

GlobalWebIndex’s research claims some 1.4 million of the UK’s 16-64 online population use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep anonymity while browsing, while 960,000 of respondents also claim to use a VPN to hide their browsing activity from the government.

The research additionally found that there are 1.95 million Snapchat users in the UK, which equates to 12% of the UK’s online population aged between 16-64.

The UK has the third highest percentage of its population on Snapchat and trails only Ireland and the US, which both have 13% of the country using it.

Services including Snapchat have been accused of not doing enough to secure privacy of their users in the past.

Snapchat fell victim to a hack that led to 4.6 million usernames and number being published by a site called SnapchatDB.info.

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