NSN Study Highlights Personal Data Concerns

Internet users are increasingly concerned about the use and misuse of the data that comprises their digital self, but communications service providers are among the organizations consumers most trust with their personal data.
These are two of the key findings of a personal data privacy study, commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN). The study finds that consumers not only have high confidence in communications service providers (CSPs) as guardians of their digital self, but also, significant interest in using them as a one stop shop to supervise their personal data. Around half of the survey respondents believe that the company that provides them with fixed or mobile communications services could be a useful partner in helping them to manage and protect their own digital self data.
The survey, consisting of 9,200 interviews conducted in 14 countries, aimed to clarify consumer attitudes towards the use of the data that constitutes an individuals digital self. This is made up of the sum of a consumers digital fingerprints, the fragmented personal and behavioural data left behind every time they interact with a service through their service provider, such as browsing a website using their mobile phone; as well as personal profile information, including their experiences, needs and behaviors, that reside within business and customer relationship management systems. 
The results of the survey show considerable concern among consumers about the use of digital self data, with 82% of respondents seeing privacy as an important topic, 76% being concerned about privacy violations, and 45% feeling they lack control over their personal data.
However, 69% of respondents said they were interested in using a single portal to manage and supervise the various permissions they had provided to different parties to access their personal data. The survey also found that CSPs were among the most trusted organizations regarding an individuals privacy and data security. In fact, CSPs ranked ahead of insurance companies, online portals, loyalty card providers, governments and online shops and communities in the minds of end-users.
Telecoms companies have long-standing relationships with their customers. They are bound by service level agreements and billing relationships, and have deep customer insight, says Paul Magelli, Head of Subscriber Data Management for NSN. The results of this global survey demonstrate that CSPs are suited, and more importantly trusted, to help make the fragmented personal data of an individual their digital self more tangible and easier to manage.
Based on the survey results, respondents fall into three groups: The Afraid seek to protect their digital self by minimizing the disclosure of this information. The Selective are pragmatic and generally more willing to embrace privacy risks in return for added value. Finally, the Uninvolved tend to be younger, less likely to own a credit card and lack awareness of privacy issues. There were significant variations as to the proportion of each group within regional samples, with countries such as Germany, Australia and Canada generally having the highest proportion of the Afraid (44 49%), and China and Taiwan having the least (23-24%).
The study was carried out in September 2009 and aimed to understand the attitudes, motives, perceptions and behaviors of end users towards privacy; their readiness to allow the usage of their digital self data by CSPs and third parties; and their willingness to share that data in the context of the value they could derive from doing so.