Privacy and Big Tech: Gauging attitudes around the world

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
March 31, 2021, 5:45 PM UTC
Two thirds of consumers around the world feel tech companies have too much control over their personal data, new YouGov data shows. 

The YouGov research, conducted in 17 key markets, shows that across all markets just 6% disagree with the statement, “When it comes to my data, I feel like tech companies have too much control.” About one in five (21%) neither agree nor disagree. 

This data comes to light as policy changes, new user tools and marketing initiatives have been developed to ease the minds of consumer concerns around data privacy. 

While most consumers harbor concern, some geographic markets are more troubled than others. Adults in Spain (75%), the United Kingdom (75%), and the United States (72%) are most likely to voice worry over control of thier personal data. 

The collection and use of data continues to be a feature of almost every sector today. This has led to increased concern over how that data is deployed, and increased government interventions by way of laws and regulations. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in 2018, is the largest government framework of its kind and has been a model for other similar laws in other regions including China, which has one of the lowest rates of concern on our list. 

Regions that are least concerned are Sweden (54%), China (56%) and Indonesia (56%). 

Although younger consumers are less likely to feel tech companies have too much data control, a majority (59%) still feel that way. YouGov data clearly shows that concern grows as those we sampled get older. 

In addition to these international findings, ongoing attitudinal research by YouGov shows notable concern over privacy regarding emerging tech. 

Roughly two in five (43%) of American consumers have privacy concerns about 5G and their data privacy. About a third (36%) of Brits share that concern. In the US, 59% of consumers say they’re concerned data from a wearable will be used by companies to learn things about their lifestyle, while 48% of Brits feel the same way. 

Methodology: Research was conducted in January 2021 across multiple markets. Sample sizes were between 505 and 2,029. All data is nationally representative except for data from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India, where data is representative of the urban population.