Desire for privacy & control key findings from a cloud user survey

EIT ICT Labs' "Trusted Cloud"- activity made a survey on users’ attitudes towards cloud services. The survey was carried out in Italy, Finland, France, Japan, UK and USA. All in all over 3,000 persons answered to the poll, i.e. more than 500 per country. There was an equal amount of women and men from all age groups and different education levels.

Cloud service a familiar term

The respondents use cloud services quite a lot and leave a huge amount of personal data behind. Their experiences of using cloud services are mainly positive. Facebook and YouTube are popular in all age groups. Today the term cloud service is familiar to users and it has become an everyday platform. According to a similar study done four years ago only 10% of Finns knew what a cloud service is when today it’s 67%.

Concerns over privacy and control of own data

Users believe that Internet service providers are very interested in using their data for the service providers’ benefit, and that an outsider could know a lot of their personal lives just by looking at their online data. Users want to retain the ability to delete their files and are concerned that it is possible for someone to steal or use their files. Users definitely want their personal information not to be available on the Internet.

Users want to ensure that they can handle the security of their data themselves. Users want to be in control. They fear to some extent that their documents will get lost and they want to be able to delete the documents they have uploaded in a cloud service. Users also believe that someone could easily steal their identity. This is valid for all users except for young Finns, who are very relaxed when compared to the other groups. Four years earlier they had some hesitations, but not anymore. Young Finns don’t believe in privacy, but they don’t seem to care. They presumably think that all their data is lost in the crowd.

EIT ICT Labs building European Trusted Cloud

Overall, the survey has made it clear that policy makers, companies and researchers must focus on trust in data management at a European level. If they do so, users of all ages are more likely to use a broad range of cloud services without fear. The ability for the average cloud user to feel relaxed and have faith that their security needs are being taken care of would have a very beneficial effect on the continent's economy.

EIT ICT Labs' Trusted Cloud initiative is an ambitious approach to find a European solution to store digital data and contents, so that consumers and businesses in Europe do not have to worry on where and by whom their valuable digital age assets are handled.

Our vision is to provide consumers and businesses better tools and services to take greater control over the use of sensitive and personal data created by and about them.

Read more about Trusted Cloud activity

Press release on the attitudes of Finns to cloud services (in Finnish)

For more information about the survey results, please, contact Aino Mensonen.

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