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BizReport : Law & Regulation : February 24, 2015

A third of Europeans admit to providing fake personal details online

Such is the concern surrounding privacy of personal data online that a third of Europeans freely admit they provide false information when signing up for online services, according to new research from security firm Symantec.

by Helen Leggatt

False personal data such as email address, telephone number and even name are being entered online as concern continues about the safety of personal information, found Symantec's State of Privacy report.

Thirty-six percent of Germans and 34% of British and Spanish respondents said they provide fake information to avoid giving out their real identities. This figure rises among younger generations and decreases among those age 65 and over.

The ramifications for businesses are obvious - they are working with data that is potentially 30% garbage.

"Businesses need to be more transparent with customers on how they are keeping data secure," says Ilias Chantzos, Senior Director, Symantec Government Affairs EMEA. "Security needs to be embedded into a company's value chain, but it should also be viewed internally as a customer-winning requirement, and not just a cost."

Technology firms, retailers and social media were the least-trusted with personal data among the 7,000 respondents across Europe. The Spanish were the most concerned about the safety of personal information online followed by Germany. More than two-thirds (68%) believe medical institutions are the most trustworthy with personal data.

A third of respondents believe their personal data is being used to better the online and customer experience. However, far more (70%) believe that data is being sold for profit to third parties and 74% don't agree with companies making money from their personal information.

"The State of Privacy report shows that many consumers today are considering what their data might be worth to others," says Darren Thomson, CTO and VP of Technology, EMEA. "Businesses should act now to demonstrate the security of personal data they hold, in turn this will enable them to grow their business with accurate data and a loyal customer base."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: personal data, privacy, research

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