CookieLaw Blog January 24, 2014

Consumers Are Defending Their Privacy

The Guardian has reported this week on findings by the GlobalWebIndex (GWI), which they claim show that privacy concerns amongst consumers have led to dramatic increase in the use of privacy enhancing tools.

According to the report, GWI is suggesting that over half of the world’s internet users, 56% feel that personal privacy is being eroded.

However what is perhaps most revealing is that 28% – 415 million people are now using a range of tools to disguise their identity or location. The most popular tool for this is Tor – which is apparently used by 11% of internet users.

Many use location making tools to get around local censorship.  For example 34% of China’s online  population are estimated to used location-masking technology to get around government blocks on ‘inappropriate’ content.

Whether or not this is also a ‘Snowden effect’ is perhaps academic.  What is important here is that many more people than was previously are taking action to try to improve their own privacy.

What this really does is put the nail in the coffin of the idea that ‘no-one cares about privacy’ anymore.  It demonstrates that privacy is very important to lots of people.

It also leads me to the questions that if people use the web as much as they do despite their privacy concerns, how much more engaged would they be if those concerns could be allayed?

Thankfully it looks like world leaders are finally waking up to the problem.  At the Davos World Economic Forum this week, leders have agreed to set up an independent commission to manage a two year investigation into use of the internet and the protection of citizen’s right, with prvacy at the top of the agenda.

Collectively, we need to get privacy right to really get the most out of this great technology we are inventing.

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