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Czech users are sceptical to Big Data – they are afraid to share their pesonal data and don´t trust state institutions

18. January 2016

The Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications released the results of an extensive survey of public attitudes towards Big Data with referrence to the privacy protection of Internet users. According to the study, Czech digital users are rather suspicious, particularly in relation to state institutions. On the contrary, they trust well-known brands.

The study of the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications has revealed that European digital users remain uncertain whether the analysis of Big Data will benefit them or wider society. They are mainly sceptical because public and private organizations 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.

The survey was conducted in September 2015 in eight European countries, including the Czech Republic, by the market research institute TNS on behalf of the Vodafone Institute. Only 32 per cent of respondents said they believe there are advantages to Big Data, while half of them declared that there were more disadvantages, and 17 per cent said they were unsure. The results in the Czech Republic were similar: 31 per cent of respondents believe there are advantages, while 55 per cent think that disadvantages prevail.

Compared to the European average, and particularly to the British and Irish users, Czech users are less informed as to who and how collects and uses their personal data. Similarly to other European users, they are most sensitive about the issue of personal data being sold to third parties – 73 per cent of Czech respondents believe that this should not be allowed.

Main results of the survey:

  • 10 per cent of Czech respondents declare they know where and how their personal data is collected and stored, while the European average is twice as many;
  • 30 per cent of Czech respondents believe that public organizations respect the privacy of their personal data – this is the least of the eight countries participating in the survey;
  • 24 per cent of Czech respondents believe that companies respect the privacy of their personal data, similarly to the European average which is 26 per cent;
  • 61 per cent of Czech respondents said they would prefer to pay for a service than give away their personal data in exchange for a free Internet service – the European average is 55 per cent; and
  • 11 per cent of Czech respondents said they obtained their information on data usage from the service providers’ Terms & Conditions.

In most replies, the Czech respondents did not vary too much from the European average. There was only one issue on which they differed significantly and that was the level of trust in various organizations and institutions regarding personal data handling. Unlike other respondents, Czech users tend to trust well-known brands.

For 57 per cent of Czech users, being a well-known brand is enough to gain trust. That is almost double the European average. The most sceptical towards well-known brands are users in the Netherlands (22 per cent) and Germany (24 per cent). 

Furthermore, Czech users  confirmed a significantly higher level of trust in health institutions, insurance companies, banks and their employers. For example, 73 per cent of Czech respondents would be willing to provide their  health data for the purposes of statistical analysis or research in an anonymous form. The European average is 61 per cent, while only 42 per cent of German users would agree to do this.

50 per cent of Czech users also believe that their personal data are handled correctly by their employer. The European average is 36 per cent, while only 28 per cent of French and Italian respondents share this opinion.

The results also show that users are more willing to share their personal data for analysis if they clearly understand how it will benefit them or society: 

  • 59 per cent of Czech respondents said that they wouldn’t mind their health data being analysed if it would help them or other people to improve their health; 
  • 71 per cent of Czech respondents stated that they were in favour of smart meters to record data on building residents’ usage behaviour so that more eco-friendly heating practices could be introduced; and 
  • 64 per cent of Czech respondents said they were happy about data from their cars being transferred in order to receive personalised traffic reports. 

When asked what organisations can do to build confidence among users in their ability to manage and protect data, respondents said they should use simple and clear language as well as avoid small print in their terms and conditions, be transparent about how data is collected, stored and used, and allow for personal privacy settings.

A full copy of the research, including a breakdown of results by country, is available at http://www.vodafone-institut.de/researcharticle/transperency-and-user-control-critical-to-success-of-big-data/.

The Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications and Data-Pop Alliance will host a discussion on the topic “Big Data: Key to the Future or the End of Privacy” in Brussels on 25 January 2016. For further information please go to www.vodafone-institut.de/event/big-data-key-to-the-future-or-theend-of-privacy/

For more information about the Vodafone Institute please go to www.vodafone-institut.de.