Data protection survey shows increase in Europeans aware of rights

data protection survey
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A data protection survey produced for the European Commission has shown a high level of awareness of the EU’s data protection rules.

The Eurobarometer report, commissioned to mark the first anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), found that 73% of the 27,000 Europeans who responded could identify at least one of the six rights guaranteed under the GDPR; with 65% aware of their right to access data held on them and 57% aware of the right to request the deletion of their own data.

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Helping Europeans regain control over their personal data is one of our biggest priorities. But, of the 60% [of] Europeans who read their privacy statements, only 13% read them fully. This is because the statements are too long or too difficult to understand. I once again urge all online companies to provide privacy statements that are concise, transparent and easily understandable by all users. I also encourage all Europeans to use their data protection rights and to optimise their privacy settings.”

The Eurobarometer data protection survey found that 67% of EU residents were aware of the GDPR as a whole; while 57% knew of the existence of national data protection authorities, which exist in Member States to enable residents to report breaches of the GDPR. 62% of respondents expressed explicit concern that they still did not have full control over the personal data they shared online.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market said: “European citizens have become more aware of their digital rights and this is encouraging news. However, only three in 10 Europeans have heard of all their new data rights. For companies, their customers’ trust is hard currency and this trust starts with the customers’ understanding of, and confidence in, privacy settings. Being aware is a precondition to being able to exercise your rights. Both sides can only win from clearer and simpler application of data protection rules.”

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