Perspective: European Citizen Perspectives on the Protection of Personal Information
This IDC Government Insights Perspective discusses European citizens' views regarding the protection of personal information.
We live in interesting times where a more public life in a digital world that exposes more of our personal information is now the norm. As individuals, organizations, and institutions, we share information online as we participate in communities, interact with friends and organizations, and purchase goods and services. All the direct and indirect information from our actions and interactions is collected, stored, dissected, and analyzed so organizations can understand us and influence us. The result is that there is a lot of information about us out there — stored in databases across the globe. Personal information has become a commodity and a currency that is bought, sold, and traded 24 x 365. And a lot of it is poorly protected, resulting in numerous cases of personal information theft and misuse every day.
One of the primary concerns today for citizens, businesses, and government agencies is the protection of personal information. Whether the damage results from poor handling of the data or a specific malicious insider theft or hacking a system, the potential damage to both individuals and institutions is staggering. For example, according to Philip Howard, Data Breaches in Europe: Reported Breaches of Compromised Personal Records in Europe, 2005–2014, Center for Media, Data, and Society, School of Public Policy, Central European University, October 2014, for every 100 Internet users in Europe, approximately 56 personal information records have been compromised through various forms of data breach. And it is likely that the number of people affected and the impact of data breaches of personal information will continue to grow.