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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 24/06/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Privacy index results show people in region are concerned but fail to take action.

with data being described as the oil of the future issues of online privacy have come under the spotlight of late. so in an era of heavy digitisation how confident are consumers in the middle east when it comes to online visibility

three paradoxes

‘we want it all’

the consumer who wants all conveniences and benefits of technology but is unwilling to trade privacy

‘take no action’

the consumer who takes virtually no special action to protect their privacy yet tends to place the onus on those handling their information

‘social sharing’

the savvy social networker who claims they value their privacy yet freely shares large quantities of personal data online. this consumer also often expresses a lack of confidence and trust in institutions to protect that information

quite confident compared to their counterparts according to a new privacy index study from emc corporation but concerns about the future of privacy are high.

analysing the feedback of 15000 consumers around the world — 1000 of whom represented the middle east region (including the uae saudi arabia and qatar) — several paradoxes were identified after a number of conflicting viewpoints came to light.

although many people showed concern for their online privacy the study found that many were failing to take action to protect it.

falling under the “we want it all” paradox it seems consumers want all the benefits and conveniences of digital technology yet they are unwilling to trade privacy to get them.

and though only 32 per cent of respondents from the middle east region say they are willing to trade privacy for convenience it still ranked second out of the 15 countries/regions analysed in the privacy index — a result which highlights how deeply conflicted the public are over privacy.

despite vast developments in technology and improvements in online security 56 per cent of respondents feel they have less privacy now than a year go with 70 per cent of respondents in the middle east hypothesising a decrease in privacy over the next five years.

during a presentation of the privacy index on monday emc’s senior vice-president and regional manager mohammed amin said data will soon become the business of the future.

“the greater the developments in technology the higher the increase in online usage and data. privacy is bound to decrease but what we need to do is keep on top of it.”

he said by 2020 the amount of data online will have increased ten-fold and the best solution to storing and monitoring it is through cloud computing.

“cloud computing will create a platform for data increase. its unprecedented potential to drive commerce and societal advancement rests on a foundation of trust” he said adding that individuals need to know that their data is not only secure but their privacy is protected too.

a look to the future

in the middle east the overall confidence in the future of privacy is low and is at the fore of the online visibility debate. but with 71 per cent of respondents voicing a need for more laws to prohibit companies from buying and selling data without ‘opt-in’ consent it is imperative for businesses to understand the range of customer perception.

expressing more confidence in an organisation’s skills in protecting their privacy (66 per cent) compared to its ethics in protecting them (63 per cent) consumers are more likely to engage in online activities with institutions that demonstrate greater privacy protection.

but when it comes to trusting a government with personal data the study shows that consumers in the middle east are happier than any other respondent with the way their data is handled.

so as digitisation continues to take over it is imperative consumers become more proactive when protecting their online privacy. and in regards to technology providers innovation and privacy protection can co-exist so institutions need to find ways to improve privacy across their offerings without compromising user experience.



Khaleej Times

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