Nearly Half of Public Ready to Swap Privacy for Greater Personal Security
YouGov Survey Finds British Adults Cautious about Online Data Sharing but Prepared to Share with the Police for Enhanced Protection against Attack
Marlow, UK, February 2012 – A new studyfinds that nearly half (48%) of the British public would be prepared to share personal data with the police in return for enhanced personal security against criminal or terrorist attacks.
The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, carried out by online polling firm, YouGov forSAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, finds that people are most willing to share information when they expect it to lead to higher levels of security and that generally, they trust the police with this information far more than they trust the government.
48% of those surveyed said they would be prepared to share personal data with the police in return for enhanced personal security against criminal or terrorist attacks. 37% claimed they would be prepared to share with border/customs for the same reasons but only 22% were prepared to share with government.
Mark Gibson, sales and marketing director EMEA & Asia Pacific, Public Security, SAS,says, “While people remain cautious aboutwho has access to thedata theyshareonline, and on social media networks in particular, their concern about crime and terrorism is such that many are prepared to sacrifice privacy in return for greater peace of mind about personal security.
“This confidence in sharing when there is a clear security benefit contrasts strongly with the public’s continuing wariness about government, banks or other groups using the information they’ve posted online or even knowing where they are.”
77% of the survey sample said they would not be prepared for any groups to have access to their location information while 82% were not comfortable about groups using personal information they’ve made available on social media.
The survey also finds that people’s growing interest in using social media for public security extends to an increasing willingness to report crimes via social media rather than by telephone or face-to-face, especially among the young. 15% of 18-24-year-olds said they would use a social media site to contact the police if they witnessed a crime (as opposed to only 1% of the 55-plus age range).
Perception and Reality
More generally, the survey reveals a widespread lack of awareness among British adults that other groups are likely to use the information they post online./p>
As many as 27% of social networking website users polled did not think any groups were currently using personal information they had made available on social media. Only 26% of respondents thought the Government were using this kind of information and just 27% thought smartphone service providers were./p>
According to Gibson,“the public perception about what happens to the information they share online appears to be far removed from the reality. Our survey shows that nearly half (42%) of online British adults use social media websites at least once a day. Yetmany don’t realise that by doing so they’re likely to be sharing data with a range of other groups. And when questioned directly, they are often nervous and even hostile about different groups using their information.”