The phenomenon is well known, and even has a name in English: the privacy paradox. It is the fact of being torn between the concern for respect for one’s private life and the desire to benefit from seemingly free digital tools… but which most often require access to personal data. This paradox is today corroborated by the figures, as far as the French are concerned. This is one of the main lessons of a Kantar study commissioned by four European companies specializing in digital ethics (Qwant, Proton, Olvid and Murena). It is published on the occasion of European Data Protection Day, Saturday 28 January.
92% of French people say they are aware of and concerned about the collection of their data by Web giants for the purpose of targeted advertising. The information they are most keen to protect is that relating to their finances (for 76% of respondents) and their personal identification (69%). Andy Yen, CEO and founder of encrypted messaging Proton, welcomes in a press release accompanying the results of the barometer of a “general awareness in recent years”. “Users are realizing the true cost of free services”, he specifies.
Private services still not very popular
Except that only 35% of them are ready to give up a digital service (site or application) to protect their data. And more than half (51%) continue to accept advertising cookies to save time when browsing the web. “Many people do not yet know of alternatives that are more respectful of their privacy”, believes Andy Yen.
The most common solutions are changes to device settings, starting with disabling location tracking, which concerns 44% of French people (and even 54% of 18-24 year olds). The use of private digital services, on the other hand, requires a stronger commitment on the part of the user, not to mention that it is sometimes paying.
Thus, although 66% of respondents cite securing their mailbox as one of their main concerns, only 6% have switched to private messaging (such as Proton or Olvid). Similarly, 46% would like to secure their search engine, but only 8% use a private alternative to Google or Yahoo. French Qwant, “the search engine that knows nothing about you”has been in financial difficulty for years.
Exercise your rights
In any case, a need for support is felt. According to the Kantar study, 86% of French people would like to be supported in implementing good practices.
A UFC-Que Choisir mobilization campaign could meet this need. Entitled #JeNeSuisPasUneData and launched on the occasion of Data Protection Day, it offers internet users the opportunity to find out what concrete personal data is collected by the platforms. Above all, it encourages users to exercise their rights of rectification, deletion, oblivion…
“The Web giants have made data out of us, but that’s not inevitable”, assures Alain Bazot, president of the UFC-Que Choisir. “Today, it is time to reverse the trend, to react by regaining control of our personal data. We have rights, let’s exercise them. »