India consumers are world’s most willing to trade privacy for online convenience

Global Internet Privacy Study Reveals Consumers’ Conflicting Views

New Delhi, India, June 19, 2014: EMC India today released the India and global findings of the EMC Privacy Index, a global study assessing consumer attitudes of online privacy. Spanning 15 countries and 15,000 consumers, the study explores how consumers worldwide view their online privacy rights and measures willingness to forfeit the benefits and conveniences of the connected world for the assurances of privacy.

Three distinct privacy paradoxes emerged from the global results –

  • “We Want it All” Paradox: Consumers say they want all conveniences and benefits of digital technology, yet say they are unwilling to trade privacy to get them
  • “Take No Action” Paradox: Although privacy risks directly impact many consumers, most say they take virtually no special action to protect their privacy – instead placing the onus on those handling their information such as government and businesses
  • “Social Sharing” Paradox: Users of social media sites claim they value privacy, yet they say they freely share large quantities of personal data – despite expressing a lack of confidence and trust in those institutions to protect that information   

Rajesh Janey, President, India & SAARC, EMC Corporation, said, “The unprecedented potential of Cloud and Big Data to drive commerce and societal advancement rests on a foundation of trust. Individuals need to know that their data not only is secure, but that its privacy is protected. The Privacy Index reveals a global divergence of views around these critical issues of our time, and a warning call that responsibility for transparency, fairness, safe online behavior and trustworthy use of personal data must be shared by business, governments and individuals alike.” 

Commenting on India’s ranking on the privacy index, Rajesh Janey added, “India is a relative new comer to the Internet world and everyone is lapping it up, and therefore there is greater willingness to share and trade information for better services from consumer and e-commerce sites. Another reason is the social fabric. Indians are used to living in joint families and in neighborhoods where the neighbors is a part of the extended family. So there is greater comfort in sharing information in and around us”.

EMC India-survey

Key India Findings:

“We Want It All” Paradox

  • On an average, Indian respondents say they are most willing to trade privacy for the benefits of digital technology:
    • 61% of India consumers on average say they are willing to trade privacy for convenience
    • Indian women are more unwilling to trade their privacy for convenience. 59% women say they are not willing as compared to only 43% men. 

“Take No Action” Paradox

  • 64% of Indian respondents have suffered a data breach (email account hacked; mobile device lost or stolen; social media account hacked; and more.),Yet, many say they are not taking measures to protect themselves:
    • 41% don’t change passwords regularly
    • 28% don’t have password protection on mobile devices
    • 21% don’t read privacy statements
    • 21% don’t customize privacy settings on social networks
    • Further, 78% Indian respondents listed businesses using, selling or trading personal data for financial gain the top risks to the future of privacy.
    • 64% Indian respondents claimed a high degree of confidence in the government in working to protect their privacy 

“Social Sharing” Paradox

  • Use of social media sites continues to explode despite:

A vast majority of Indian consumers, 84% say they don’t like anyone knowing anything about them or their habits unless they make a decision themselves to share that information.

A Stark Privacy Outlook

  • The confidence people have in their levels of privacy is degrading over time –
    • Compared to a year ago, 51% Indian respondents feel they have less privacy now
    • A large majority of Indian respondents – 59% expect privacy will decrease in the next five years 

These findings suggest consumers are likely to engage in more online activities with institutions that demonstrate greater privacy protection. This presents real opportunities that business and governments must not ignore.

The study is instructive for consumers, businesses and technology providers:

  • For consumers it reinforces the need to increase their awareness of privacy issues and to take personal action to protect their own privacy. EMC’s recommendations on steps to improve consumer privacy are shared below. 
  • For businesses the imperative is to understand the range of customer perception. Winners and losers will be determined by those businesses that demonstrate the most relevant and practical privacy practices for their customers. The more evident it is that a business is committed to privacy protection the more likely it will attract and increase levels of consumer engagement. 
  • Critical to helping businesses deliver on their commitment to privacy protection are technology providers, which need to find ways to improve privacy across their offerings without compromising user experience, performance or capability. 

EMC suggests the following best practices for consumers to protect their privacy online:

  • Don’t use same password for multiple accounts and change passwords frequently
  • Use multi-factor authentication for email and other online accounts that offer it
  • Don’t use employer-owned devices or networks for personal business.
  • Turn off geo-location tracking for most mobile apps that don’t require it
  • Log out of apps when not in use
  • Open Wi-Fi hot spots should not be trusted – investigate before connecting and avoid using open Wi-Fi to conduct sensitive transactions
  • Keep devices current with the latest software and security updates
  • Enable password protection, especially on mobile devices
  • Get to know privacy policies of social media sites
  • Limit the amount of information you share about yourself on social networks

Kamlesh Bajaj, CEO, Data Security Council of India on ‘Privacy in India’, said, “In the information age, privacy has become a prime concern globally. While traditionally privacy has been perceived differently by different societies, technology advancement has brought forth similar concerns and responses across the world. Privacy in India is undergoing transformation – India is evolving from a collective society to an individualistic society and technology is acting as a major catalyst. Indian citizens are increasingly becoming aware of privacy concerns especially those living in urban areas.”

“On the other hand, there are many who do not understand the privacy implications of technology but are getting integrated in a technology-enabled environment. Businesses in India have started to realize the importance of privacy protection in enhancing customer trust and some pro-active organizations have started to implement privacy programs. But there is a long way to go and there is a strong need for businesses to be more forthcoming in declaring their privacy policies and practices to allow consumers to make informed choices. To establish a strong privacy regime in the country going forward, efforts of all stakeholders including policy makers, industry and citizens need to converge”, Kamlesh Bajaj added.


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