77% of Singaporeans concerned about data protection and privacy

The world over, data protection and privacy is a concern and Singaporeans are not indifferent to it.

In fact, 77 percent of Singaporeans are concerned about data protection and privacy over the Internet.

"Consumers in Singapore are very concerned about data protection and privacy in the Internet but at the same time about seven out of 10 stated that they can't imagine a life without the Internet anymore and life without the Internet would be a lot less fun," said Afrizal Abdul Rahim, Head of ConsumerLab, Ericsson South East Asia & Oceania.

He was sharing key findings from a new 'Personal Information Economy' report released last month from Ericsson's ConsumerLab at a briefing in Singapore on 16 March.

During the briefing, he discussed findings from the global study that showed although more than 50 percent of consumers are aware that their personal information is collected for commercial purposes, exactly why, how or what it is used for is still obscure to most.

The report, which conducted 23,000 online interviews with people aged 15-69 around the world, also collected information and data points from countries. The study was conducted in 58 markets including in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

According to the study, while 77 percent of Singaporeans are concerned about privacy, the same is true of 76 percent of Malaysians.

"People are generally not comfortable with sharing their information online without having any control over it," said Abdul Rahim, referring to the study results. "This is especially true for medical records, salary, social contacts and stored files."

When asked what are the privacy concerns on Internet and voice calls, he said: "We don't have this information within our research data and between using corporate desktop and mobile. Choice of device is not necessarily a distinguishing factor when it comes to privacy per se - It is rather the data that is available from the device that is sensitive. Our research clearly shows that personal devices, such as the mobile phone or your own PC, are generally seen as more sensitive, simply because they contain your personal information."

The survey revealed that globally, more than 40 percent of people would allow companies to use their personal information when the offer is personalised to them, used to improve current services or develop new services.

Therefore, concluded Abdul Rahim, if companies want to collect data from consumers, they should build on their relationships through permissibility, value sharing and transparency.

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