Everyone leaves a digital footprint whenever they use the internet. Our information is out there, from the most basic to sensitive data. With each passing day, the concept of privacy becomes thinner, while the risk of data breaches increases. There is growing concern regarding privacy and how it can be protected, but what are the exact numbers from privacy statistics?

Privacy Statistics [Editor’s Choice]

  • 67% of internet users in the US are not aware of their country’s privacy and data protection rules.
  • 9% of US internet users believe the concept of digital privacy is a myth.
  • 33% of the world’s internet users change their passwords regularly.
  • About 74% of internet users in the US are more concerned with their online privacy than they’ve ever been.
  • 13% of global internet users would be willing to share their contact details to avoid paying for content.

US Privacy Stats

1) 67% of internet users in the US are not aware of their country’s privacy and data protection rules.

According to a poll conducted in June 2019, of all the surveyed US internet users, a net total of 33% reported they were conversant with the privacy and data protection rules in their country. This was a combined total of 7% who were very aware and 26% who were somewhat aware.

2) 9% of US internet users believe the concept of digital privacy is a myth.

One of the surprising internet privacy facts concerns the term itself. When asked what digital privacy meant to them, 9% of internet users in the US stated they didn’t believe in privacy, calling it a myth or saying it didn’t exist.

17% of the 4,272 respondents, when asked what constituted digital privacy for them, answered that the concept included themselves, their personal information and possessions, and the desire to keep things to themselves.

3) Only 3% of Americans understand the current online privacy regulations.

According to statistics on privacy and security in the USA, just 3% of internet users in the country understand the current laws and regulations in place to protect their data privacy, with 63% either having no idea of or not understanding the regulations altogether. 

The general consensus, however, holds that the US government would need to exert more effort in the field of internet regulation: 75% of the US internet user population believe that there should be more regulations protecting their privacy from corporations gathering consumer data without their consent or knowledge.

Privacy Concerns Statistics

4) 79% of internet users around the world feel they have completely lost control over their personal data.

It’s no news that companies and corporations rendering services to the general public have access to their customers’ data. However, what this data is being used for is a different matter entirely. 

Nearly four in five respondents of a global survey released in 2020 believed that whatever happened with their personal data was no longer under their control. According to consumer privacy statistics, most consumers believed their private information was at the hands of the companies that collected them.

5) Identity theft and fraud are the most troubling issues for 72% of US internet users.

When asked about what concerned them the most when using the internet, 72% of 1,002 respondents surveyed in April 2019 answered identity theft and fraud. Sixty-four percent were also worried about stolen passwords, while 59% had concerns about not knowing what their information was being used for.

6) 67% of internet users worldwide are more concerned with their online privacy than they’ve ever been.

67% of internet users the world over were more alarmed than ever about the state of their digital privacy. According to the same online privacy statistics, however, 64% of them were willing to accept certain online privacy risks for the sake of convenience.

7) 81% of US internet users believe that their personal information is vulnerable to hackers.

Thirty-four percent of internet users in the US believe that their personal information is very vulnerable to hackers. Forty-seven percent suppose their data is somewhat vulnerable, while 2% think they aren’t at any risk whatsoever. Nine percent don’t know if they are vulnerable or not.

Facts About Privacy Protection

8) 33% of the world’s internet users change their passwords regularly.

When asked, “How have you changed anything about how you behave online compared to one year ago?” 33% of internet users worldwide stated that they changed their passwords more regularly in 2019 than they did the year before. It was the fifth most common protective action taken, with the most common being not opening emails from unknown email addresses, as stated by 45%.

9) 86% of Americans have made attempts to erase or reduce their digital footprint online.

While it’s impossible to eliminate all data online, 86% of Americans on the internet have at some point or the other tried to remove their personal information.

Internet Privacy Statistics

10) In 2019, there was a 53% increase in the number of online users concerned with internet privacy issues.

The number of internet users who expressed concerns over their internet privacy saw a 53% increase from 2018. 

More online users were aware of the risks associated with using the internet, such as internet history and financial data theft, identity theft, as well as many other cybercrimes.

11) 13% of global internet users would be willing to share their contact details to avoid paying for content.

Personal-information privacy statistics from a survey taken in 2019 reveal that 58% of global online consumers would be willing to share the data on their internet activity in exchange for free access to online content. Thirteen percent were willing to share contact information, while 29% would rather pay and not share their data.

12) Approximately 37% of all sites use non-secure cookies.

An estimated 37% of all websites on the internet in February 2021 used non-secure cookies. Cookies are used to keep records of internet activity in a bid to optimize visitor experience. Unfortunately, non-secure cookies are prone to network attacks, putting personal information at risk.

Social Media Privacy Issues Statistics

13) Nearly 33% of email and social media users were victims of at least one cyberattack in 2018.

Everyone probably knows someone who has had their accounts hacked, either on social media or via email. Statistically, this translates into 32.7% of the email and social media community having experienced at least one cyberattack online in 2018. Of this number, more than half have had their personal information stolen, such as Social Security numbers, banking data, and credit card details.

14) About 44% of people have experienced some form of harassment on the internet.

Stalkers on the internet are most effective when the data protection measures are weak. Privacy statistics show that about 44% of internet users had personally experienced some kind of online harassment, ranging from offensive name-calling and stalking to physical threats and sustained harassment. Most of these victims are women, with one in six reporting such experiences, compared to one in 19 men.

15) Younger adults between the ages of 16 and 24 are less careful with the information they divulge online than those aged 25 to 34.

When it comes to teens, social media and privacy statistics inform us that those between the ages of 16 and 24 are most likely to engage in activities that could negatively affect them. In spite of being the most prominent internet users, younger adults are less careful about internet privacy. They tend to put up photos and engage in contact with strangers.

16) 25% of adult internet users have posted sensitive information about themselves on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

One of the most shocking social media privacy statistics tells us that one-quarter of adult internet users admit to being careless and posting sensitive information about themselves on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

In case the gravity of this fact is not fully understood, this means that about one in four registered social network users has shared personal information on social media, such as their addresses (home and email), full names, and phone numbers.

GDPR Statistics for 2021

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations, adopted in April 2016, are a model and basis for many national privacy protection laws outside the EU. However, the current state of privacy protection legislation worldwide leaves a lot to be desired.

17) 18% of the world’s countries have no regulations on data protection.

While many countries look to improve data protection through regulations and laws, 18% of the world’s countries don’t have any privacy legislation. As privacy concerns with technology keep increasing, this may well be a troubling statistic to consider.

In accordance with GDPR and other data protection laws, 47% of companies have had updates to their policies regarding website cookies, while 80% of companies have updated their general privacy policies multiple times in the last year.

What Privacy Statistics Tell Us

It’s clear that there is a growing concern with digital privacy as time progresses. More internet users are realizing the risk of their personal information being accessible on the internet and are taking more care to ensure that their personal information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Still, as statistics around privacy protection convincingly show, there is still a lot to be done to curb the increasing rates of cyberattacks and data breaches. The overall situation calls for all hands on deck, with the average internet user, companies, and the government all chipping in to protect our civil rights.