Less than a third (32 percent) of Europeans believe there are advantages to big data, according to a study conducted by TNS Infratest on behalf of the Vodafone Institute. The survey of 8,000 respondents in eight European countries revealed that even fewer digital users – 26 percent – thought companies respected the privacy of their personal data, with only 29 percent feeling they had control over what information is collected about them.
In terms of the types of companies that Europeans trust to correctly handle their personal data, telecoms operators were trusted by just 18 percent of respondents, slightly above social media companies (11 percent), messaging providers (14 percent) and search engine companies (16 percent). At the other end of the scale, 33 percent of respondents said they trusted their banks, while 36 percent trust their employers and 43 percent trust healthcare institutions.
Other findings revealed in the report on public attitudes to big data and privacy include the fact that 55 of respondents said they would prefer to pay for a service than give away their personal data in exchange for a free internet service, while 53 percent said they wouldn’t mind their data being analysed if it would help them or other people improve their health.
The study concluded that users are so sceptical of the Big Data phenomenon because public and private organisations are failing to explain clearly how and why their data is analysed, and do not give them adequate control over how their data is being used. In that regard, just 20 percent of respondents said they know where and how their personal data is collected and stored.