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“I Say Where Can a Chap Get a Bit of Privacy?” Survey Says Online Privacy and Security a Luxury in UK.

By ThreatMetrix
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It wasn’t all that long ago when privacy meant locking the bathroom door. In fact, in some circles, the toilet was euphemistically referred to as “the private office.” Well that was then.

This is now when privacy is often hard to come by — just ask the owner of the L.A. Clipper’s, whose racist remarks allegedly made by him to his girlfriend became front-page news — and online privacy comes at a premium. To be precise, the premium, according to a survey in the UK, should be about £2.50 ($4.20) per month. That’s what 58 percent of people in the UK would pay to secure their online data.

The survey of more than 2000 adults in the UK found that most would rather walk away from using a service than pay for a more secure version. Here are some of the findings as reported in a story in (Note the following has been edited to fit our format.)

A survey of 2,000 UK adults, carried out by [one] security company…finds that nearly half would quit services like Facebook (45%), search giants like Google (44%) and email providers like Yahoo (39%) if they thought their personal data was being sold or shared.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that we now think of online privacy as a luxury good,” says [security professional] Rik Ferguson. “Users are clearly telling providers they will vote with their feet rather than pay excessively for privacy and there’s the real possibility of an exodus from certain services if users feel their data is being unethically handled.”

The research found that 58% would pay to secure their data online, but the average people are willing to pay is just £30.30 annually. [$50.99]

According to the survey, over 40% of respondents said they were considering opting out of free email providers to pay for a more secure service – a trend which could have something to do with reports earlier this week that Google was working on end-to-end encryption for its Gmail service.

More than a fifth of respondents had stopped using public Wi-Fi hotspots following numerous reports of privacy issues.

Three-quarters of all respondents said they would be unhappy with private and public service providers selling their data, even if it meant they were getting a better service.

The EU is about to introduce its Data Protection Regulation which is aimed at protecting European citizen’s data but only 37% of respondents felt the new regulation will force organizations to implement more stringent security and even fewer (34%) expect it to stop organizations from illegally collecting customer data.

“In both the public and private sectors it’s a call for organizations to become more transparent about how they use our data. It’s encouraging to see the EU take proactive steps to address these data privacy concerns, though clearly the public is skeptical about how much of an impact this will have on them,” Ferguson said.

By ThreatMetrix Posted