Men and women equally unaware how to protect their data

While a survey points to the existing gender gap in online privacy awareness, both men and women in the US fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their private data.

A recent online survey of 2,310 Americans by data privacy agent Incogni, powered by Surfshark, showed that men and women exhibit varying levels of online privacy awareness, and both lack the necessary knowledge.

For example, data shows that women are less likely to know or use cybersecurity tools. Fewer women have heard of VPN, private browsing, or ad blocker.

Half of the women, compared to two-thirds of the men, know that their personal information is being collected by companies online. 30% of women surveyed have heard of data brokers and how they handle user data, while 40% of the men could give the same answer.

Similarly, 80% of the women don’t know about services that can help them protect or remove their data compared to 70% of the men.

“Awareness being so low indicates there is very little knowledge about cybersecurity and how to act safely online. Teaching girls at a young age about cybersecurity could help empower women to protect their online privacy and safety,” says Darius Belejevas, Head of Incogni.

Protecting against data brokers and other organizations handling data could become particularly important as experts expect cyberstalking to increase once again with the overruling of Roe v Wade.

Women across the country have been experiencing instances of prosecutors using personal data such as location, search history, app use, and even private texts to enforce anti-abortion laws.

With the mass data collection online and the absence of stringent federal data privacy regulations in the US, the private data of Americans are left exposed, and people are left with few options to delete it.

“Some individually reach out to data brokers or companies that store their personal information and request their data to be deleted, or they can use the services of privacy agencies that automatically find and remove their data from the internet on their behalf,” Incogni said in a press release.

However, despite the dangers, 62% of Incogni’s survey respondents asked any company to remove their private information, and the vast majority are unaware such an option exists.

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