Privacy in Digital World Is Impossible, Survey Says

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Privacy in the digital world is not possible, according to a new report from Kaspersky Lab that looked at consumers' attitudes about the security of their personal information online.

The new report surveyed 11,887 consumers in 21 countries and found that 56% of people think complete privacy in the modern digital world is impossible, despite regulations like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the ensuing talk about the need to secure the personal data of consumers.

"While more and more transactions are carried out online, and are consumers constantly told by media pundits and regimes to safeguard personal and confidential data, people are still more worried about what happens in the physical world than in the digital space. Less than half (41%) of consumers are more apprehensive about what happens to their information online than offline. Yet those who are concerned about cybercrime are made to feel even worse by the seemingly daily occurrence of data breaches or cyberthreats hitting the headlines – striking doubt into the mind of even the most tech savvy user," Kaspersky Lab wrote in a blog post.

In large part, the recent high-profile data scandals at Facebook and Equifax diminished what might have existed of consumers' trust that their digital information could ever be truly secure. In fact, Kaspersky Lab's research found that 26% of people have had their private data accessed by someone without their consent, rising to almost a third (31%) for those who are between 16 and 24 years old.

Convinced that companies are incapable of ensuring their complete privacy, 39% of people said that they would exchange their private data for monetary payment, even if that meant giving a complete stranger full access to their information. In addition, nearly two in 10 (18%) of respondents said they would hand over their data if they received something free in return.

"Despite our fears and the realities associated with online data use, data privacy is and should be achievable by everyone," Kaspersky Lab wrote. "Secrets can stay safe and data loss should not be an expectation but an exception when transacting online. Good digital hygiene and an awareness about the importance of online privacy and how to safeguard yourself could stop you and your data from becoming compromised."

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