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Privacy: all about personality

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EMC’s latest Privacy Index, a global study assessing consumer attitudes of online privacy has revealed that South Africans, like their global counterparts, use technologies that reveal personal data, but take few actions to protect their privacy.

Spanning 15 countries and 15,000 consumers, the study reveals consumers hold viewpoints on privacy that vary widely by geography and the type of activity engaged in while online.

The long-standing debate over how much visibility governments and businesses should have regarding people’s private activities, communications and behaviours has continued into the online world. The EMC Privacy Index 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.

Read through the complete findings from the EMC Privacy Index, including rankings by country.

The conclusion? People want benefits of technology without sacrificing privacy. Three privacy paradoxes emerged, each with powerful implications for consumers, businesses and technology providers:

The EMC Privacy Index confirms people behave differently depending on the type of activity, which can be categorised with a number of online personas (or “Me’s”), each with different attitudes towards privacy. The six personas evaluated include:

Viewpoints on privacy vary wildly by persona. For instance, viewed through the lense of the citizen persona respondents showed the greatest willingness to forfeit privacy – to gain protection or for easier and more efficient online access to government benefits. Meanwhile, their “social” persona claims to be the least willing to give up privacy for greater social connectedness.

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

Key Findings

“We Want It All” Paradox

Take No Action” Paradox

Social Sharing” Paradox

A Stark Global Privacy Outlook

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

Executive Quotes:

“The South African market demonstrates similar online behaviour, with consumers being highly active online and shopping, banking, searching and social networking leading online activity in the country. Like their global counterparts, South Africans readily use technologies that reveal personal data, but take few actions to protect their privacy.

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 behaviour and trustworthy use of personal data must be shared by business, governments and individuals alike.

Servaas Venter, Country Manager, EMC Southern Africa

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