Consumers Are ‘Confused’ About Security And Privacy Priorities

privacy - Shutterstock: © Roland IJdema

Consumers are deeply conflicted over national security versus privacy, but still willing to share data with social networks

Businesses eager to gain the trust of their customers are likely to be confused by contradictions in consumer’s privacy and security priorities amidst the bitter spat between Apple and the FBI.

An F5 survey exploring the attitudes of data and security handling found half of UK respondents agree that tech firms should prioritise national security over consumer privacy. Only 26 percent of Brits agreed that privacy should be prioritised over security.

Yet despite these concerns, consumers are still willing to share the most information with social networks – despite trusting them the least.

Privacy Vs Security


security and privacyThe survey found that two-thirds of respondents were concerned about their privacy being compromised, while 72 percent had no confidence in social networks to protect their data from hackers effectively.

But despite this, more than half were willing to share personal information for free access to a company service. People it seems are willing to share date of birth (53 percent), marital status (51 percent) and personal interests (50 percent) in return for a free service.

But almost a third (31 percent) see no value in giving their personal data to companies. Nearly all consumers (88 percent) feel strongly that organisations should improve authentication for greater security.

Banks are regarded as the most trustworthy companies with consumer data (76 percent), despite the growing number of attacks against these institutions. But social networking companies such as Facebook and Twitter are only trusted by 25 percent of consumers.

And firms should be careful when dealing with people’s data, after the survey found that three quarters (75 percent) of Brits view sharing their data with third parties without their permission as a misuse of their data.

“There are clear differences in the type of companies that consumers trust with their data,” said Mike Convertino, CISO and vice president of Information Security at F5 Networks. “Companies with a traditional focus on security, such as banks, are by far considered the most trustworthy but interestingly, we share the most information with social media channels despite the fact that we trust these companies the least to keep our data safe.”

Ongoing Debate

“Regardless of the industry, any consumer facing organisation needs to ensure that its protection is in line with its customers increasing demands. As we all become more aware of the risks, it becomes even more important to get a security and data protection infrastructure – technology, education and processes – in place that is stringent enough to protect against threats, but does not harm the customer experience.”

The survey highlights the struggle for both security and privacy in today’s increasingly digital world.

With the recent collapse of the “Safe Harbour” agreement the topic of encryption has moved, from conversations in the server room, to headline news with lawyers in international courtrooms.

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