Report: people increasingly concerned about personal data safety

Most consumers are willing to switch to products that offer better data protection technology, but the problem is that Gen Z – the future – doesn’t care about data privacy as much as other generations.

In its latest research report, “Data Privacy in 2024: Bringing Zero-Knowledge to the Masses,” Aleo, a privacy-preserving blockchain platform, cites data showing that people are increasingly worried about who controls their personal data.

According to the survey conducted in October 2023 in the United States, 67% of consumers are willing to switch to a product if it includes a data protection technology option: “People want to protect their privacy from data brokers and large technology companies, highlighting the need for consumers to have choices.”

What’s more, it looks like the privacy limitations of digital services are widely recognized now, and this is thanks to the growing amount of reports of various data safety-related incidents.

“The growing awareness of potential digital risks is prompting even those who are content with their current setups to seek out alternatives that offer enhanced protection, but this isn’t surprising,” says Aleo.

“With the media covering data breaches, leaks, hacks, scams, and ransomware more extensively than ever, these risks are top-of-mind for the public.”

It’s not just the news, though. Aleo explains that data security and the understanding of it also improved because of mass advertising for digital products – for instance, CrowdStrike bought a Super Bowl commercial for two years in a row.

Americans are additionally increasingly aware of global privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Finally, personal experiences have made people take privacy-focused solutions more seriously.

“This shift in consumer attitudes and behavior indicates a larger trend where the value of online privacy and security is increasingly recognized not as a luxury – but a fundamental right,” says Aleo.

Cryptocurrency companies are among the least trusted with regard to data privacy and security, by the way. Only 10% of respondents expressed a great deal of trust in such firms.

It’s not surprising. Data from the Federal Trade Commission has recently shown that US residents lost a staggering $1.56 billion to crypto fraud in 2023, with crypto losses accounting for 15% of all fraud losses.

Concern about data privacy varies among different generations. Baby boomers are worried the most (85%), Millennials and Gen X are not far off as well (77% and 74%, respectively), but a full third of the Gen Z grouping seem unfazed, with 68% reporting apprehension.

Still, according to Aleo, data privacy and safety are seen as issues for people of any age or background now because people simply know more about how their data is or might be used in the digital world.

“Simply put, privacy has gone from something users hope for to something they demand. Few adults have a laissez-faire attitude towards data privacy; most are concerned about how their data is used, despite feeling like they have less control,” Aleo says in the report.