From the survey results, it is evident that data collection is a major concern of people. We have found out that 60% of respondents who don’t know their rights concerning personal data are afraid of data collection. However, 54% of respondents who admitted that they know their rights concerning personal data are still afraid of data collection. Therefore, regardless of whether an individual is informed about the privacy policies, data collection is still a concern for the majority.
GDPR is based on the idea of informed consent. Informed means that people need to know about GDPR. According to our survey, around ⅔ of respondents without higher education have never heard about GDPR, but around ⅔ of respondents with higher education have. Education seems to have an impact on the knowledge of GDPR. This explains to a certain degree why very young respondents (15-19 years) have little knowledge of GDPR (65% who have never heard of it). Only over 50-year-old have heard less of it (73% negative answers). However, the majority of respondents between 20 and 49 years old know about GDPR.
Respondents who know their rights concerning personal data are mostly aware of the fact that a company has to inform on what data they have on me, and what they use it for (79% of the respondents), that it is possible that my online data can be deleted (63% of the respondents), that it is possible to ask a company to correct my data if they are wrong (57% of the respondents) and that it is possible to access data if a company has collected data on me (55% of the respondents). On the other hand, the respondents who have admitted that they don’t know their rights concerning personal data are still aware of the fact that a company has to inform on what data they have on me, and what they use it for (61% of the respondents), that it is possible that my online data can be deleted (40% of the respondents) and that it is possible to access data if a company has collected data on me (37% of the respondents).
Better is the knowledge about cookies. Most respondents answer that they know what cookies are. Interestingly, the number is lowest with the doctorate (64% yes). Young respondents seem to have doubts about cookies (55% know what they are), but the number raises significantly for the next age group (20-29 87% yes). It could be theorised that maybe the teenagers hear of it later in their education, but we cannot tell for sure based on the information we have.
The answers to the question “Do you know your rights concerning personal data?” are too random to draw conclusions. This might be because the question asks for the respondent’s opinion of their knowledge, not the knowledge itself.
Interestingly, more people in Switzerland have heard of GDPR (54%) than people in Italy (50%). This despite the fact that GDPR does not (yet) apply to Switzerland. We do not have enough respondents of other European countries to compare them.
Roughly half of the respondents (51%) share data for personal benefits. When they do, these are mostly: e-mail address (shared by 47% of respondents), name (shared by 42% of respondents) and surname (shared by 41% of respondents). As a comparison, payment details are shared only by 10% of the respondents.
Only 8% of respondents fully read privacy policies. Among those that don’t read them at all, they don’t do it mostly because the privacy policies are too long. Because of this, it seems like the idea of representing privacy policies with icons would be meaningful – to avoid lengthy descriptions.