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Data security on the Internet: Users feel hardly protected, but on the other hand want convenient applications



  • Following the data scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the majority of Germans feel that their data is not secure on the Internet and that they are hardly informed about the use of their data, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by VERIMI-.

  • Yet the security of their data is a very high priority for users. However, many users already feel they are doing enough to protect their data, survey finds

Berlin, 21.6.2018. Germans’ sense of security when using online services on the Internet has declined. Only 41 percent of users in Germany believe that their personal data is safe online following the media coverage of the Facebook data scandal. Before the scandal broke in April of this year, this figure was still just under half (49 percent). And the information situation is also rated poorly in this context: Only a good third of German citizens say they feel well informed about the security of their data. This was the result of a study conducted by the research institute YouGov on behalf of the identity platform VERIMI. The study surveyed attitudes toward data security before and after the Facebook scandal.

Users want more security, but see service providers as responsible

According to the second survey, Germans feel poorly informed about what their data is used for and how it is processed: 67 percent agree with the statement that they do not know what happens to their personal data on the Internet. For the vast majority (86 percent), however, it is important to know which company uses data – and for what. At the same time, two-thirds (67 percent) of Germans believe they do enough themselves to ensure the security of their data. Also, when asked what consequences they would draw if a service turned out to be insecure, 15 percent said they would stop using the service and 19 percent said they would unsubscribe from the service. Over half would continue to use the service. Overall, however, only 44 percent say they would want to increase the security of their data within the service if this happened.

“The Facebook scandal has further strengthened Germans’ already high need for data security. In reality, however, user-friendliness plays a major role,” is the assessment of Frieder Schmid, Senior Consultant Political Research, who accompanied the survey at YouGov. “In light of the recent data scandals, people in Germany are more sensitized when it comes to the use of personal data. However, data security for all users will only increase if service providers also offer solutions that are secure, but at the same time simple and easy to use. Here, the industry has a responsibility to make it as easy as possible for users to control and protect their data,” says Dr. Jeannette von Ratibor, CEO of VERIMI.

Data security is important, but logging on must also be easy

The survey shows: Germans use many different profiles, but significantly fewer passwords. Every second German has more than ten user profiles on the Internet, but four out of ten respondents only use up to five passwords in total to log in. This means that a new password is not chosen for every new user account. The survey results provide an indication of the reason for this: A quarter of all respondents are overwhelmed by the large number of passwords. Security and practicality are highly valued by users, with just under two-thirds of users, both before and after the scandal, considering security on the Net to be more important than low effort in use. However, more than three-quarters of Germans also value the ability to log in quickly to online services with just a few clicks.

Identity platforms offer security and convenient access

Convenience and security must not be a contradiction in terms. VERIMI has been launched to both create more security and eliminate password clutter. As a new identity and data platform, VERIMI combines a central secure log-in (single sign-on) for online services with high security standards. Users can see at any time which provider uses which data – and for what. At the same time, VERIMI offers companies legally secure and data protection-compliant data processing. In the future, VERIMI will also enable digital official transactions by integrating ID documents.

About the YouGov study

From March 14 to 19, 2018, n=1,000 people were surveyed in an online poll by the opinion research institute YouGov, representative of the population, on the topics of password use and data security on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, the data scandal surrounding Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was discussed in the media and triggered a public debate about data security on the Internet. Against this background, the same people were contacted again in the period from March 29 to April 04, 2018, to re-answer some of the questions that had already been answered in the first interview. In the second survey wave, n=843 interviews were conducted


About Verimi

Verimi is the new European cross-industry identity and data platform. Verimi combines a convenient and centralized log-in (single sign-on), the highest security and data protection standards in accordance with European law, and user self-determination over the use of personal data. Verimi was founded in May 2017. The platform is supported by a broad alliance of internationally positioned companies. The group of shareholders includes Allianz, Axel Springer, Bundesdruckerei, Core, Daimler, Deutsche Bank with Postbank, Deutsche Telekom, Giesecke+Devrient, Here Technologies and Lufthansa. Verimi is launching in the German market. The offering will be successively extended to other European markets.

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