Clear differences in preferences for attributes are found in the Travel, Internet and Health contexts as respondents make trade-offs between their needs for privacy, security and surveillance in each setting.
Type of data matters
Most respondents across the EU are found to prefer some level of data storage on CCTV camera or on a health device. However, they dislike any storage of information on Internet usage and prefer that their Internet Service Provider offers some services to improve online privacy.
Sharing data outside the country of residence is generally disliked
Most respondents across the EU are found to dislike access to CCTV or Internet usage data by police outside their home country. In the Health context, respondents are found to prefer access to health device data across the EU rather than only in their home country. However, they dislike that their health information is viewed by groups other than medical practitioners.
Preferences for security and privacy are surprisingly consistent across the EU
These results are quite consistent across the 27 EU Member States surveyed, although there are some country specific effects. These particularly concern the presence of security personnel and security checks in the Travel context and viewing of data by different groups other than medical practitioners in the Health setting.
Socio-economic effects were also found to play a role. In terms of surveillance, older people (65+) are generally less averse to the presence of CCTV cameras or Internet surveillance and had stronger preferences for services to improve online privacy. Younger people (18-24), on the other hand are more open to storage of their Internet and health data, but are more averse to physical security checks.
Trust and concern for privacy are important
Respondents’ attitudes significantly affect their preferences in relation to privacy, security and surveillance. Moreover, these attitudes are influenced by age, gender and income, as well as context specific factors, such as travel frequency; time spent on the Internet and current health condition.
Overall, the results indicate that respondents’ preferences related to security and privacy are much more nuanced than the simplistic inverse relationship between security and privacy that is often assumed; an important finding from a policy making perspective.
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