Indians swap privacy for convenience

23 June 2014
NEW DELHI: Indian internet users, especially men, are more likely than their global counterparts to trade privacy for online convenience, a global study has revealed.

According to the Indian segment of a worldwide internet privacy study by EMC, the US-based technology firm, 61% of Indian respondents say they're willing to divulge personal information in return for convenience, The Times of India reported.

By contrast, only 36% of internet users in Germany feel the same, the survey of 15,000 consumers in 15 countries established.

It confirmed that web users in India continue to place a high degree of trust in organisations and the government to protect their privacy even though 64% of Indians respondents reported a data breach compared to a global average of 54%.

Over three-quarters (77%) of Indians trust organisations to protect their privacy effectively, 73% are confident organisations behave ethically, and 64% believe their government is working to protect online privacy compared to 41% of global respondents.

However, Indian men seem to be far more willing to provide organisations with their personal data in return for convenience, InformationWeek reported.

A full 59% of women say they're not willing to trade their privacy for convenience compared to only 43% of men, EMC discovered.

Rajesh Janey, India president of EMC, attributed the apparent divergence of Indian opinion from the global average to the relative novelty of the internet in the country as well as the collective nature of Indian society.

"India is a relative newcomer to the internet world and everyone is lapping it up, and therefore there is greater willingness to share and trade information for better services from consumer and e-commerce sites," he said.

"Another reason is the social fabric," he added. "Indians are used to living in joint families and in neighbourhoods where the neighbours [are] a part of the extended family."

Perhaps because of less familiarity with the privacy implications of new technology, the report also found many Indians do not take adequate measures to protect themselves despite 64% reporting they had suffered a data breach.

Two-fifths (41%) do not change their passwords regularly, EMC said, 28% do not use passwords on their mobile devices, 21% do not read privacy statements, and 21% do not customise privacy settings on social networks.

Data soured from Times of India, Information Week, EMC; additional content by Warc staff
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