We live in a more connected age than ever before. This technological shift has enabled countless innovations and improvements, but it has also made us more exposed to an increasing number of threats to our wellbeing, both online and off. Digital privacy has become a national talking point; corporations, policy makers, and the general public are increasingly aware of the scope and complexity that goes into keeping our data secured in an era of unprecedented connectivity. As 2019 draws to a close, here is a look back at 26 digital privacy statistics that defined the year.
What is Data Privacy?
Data privacy, or information privacy, involves the protection of data with regards to its collection, usage, and distribution. “Data” in the case of data privacy typically refers to any information that could personally identify someone, such as their name, address, phone number, social security number, credit card information, or their username and password, among other things.
Essentially, data privacy is the protection of any consumer data provided to a third party.
Data privacy laws are changing around the globe. To understand just how much data privacy issues affect us, consider the following statistics:
Worldwide Internet Use
- In 1995 just 1% of the world had internet access. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 57%, with over 4 billion internet users worldwide. 
Data Privacy by Region
- Even though privacy laws are a relatively recent legal development, over 80 countries around the world have enacted some type of privacy law. 
- The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most robust privacy protection law in the world to date. 
- In the U.S., all 50 states as well as Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and all the U.S. Virgin Islands, have enacted laws that require businesses to notify consumers if their personal information is compromised. 
- However, as of 2019, only 27 states had set – or were in the early stages of setting – online privacy laws. 
An Increasing Concern
- Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their online data, with 82% of Americans surveyed saying they worry about online security. Despite this, 15% of internet pages loaded are still not encrypted with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. 
- 80% of social media users are concerned about businesses accessing the data they share on social media platforms. 
- 95% of Americans are concerned about businesses collecting and selling their personal information without permission. 
- 7 out of 10 Americans say they are taking measures to protect their online privacy more today than they were a year ago. However, only 50% are looking for new ways to safeguard their personal information. 
The Value of Data
- Every 2 seconds there is a new victim of identity theft. 
- Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft, according to a 2018 online survey by The Harris Poll. 
- Identity theft causes billions of dollars in total losses. The amount stolen from victims of identity theft was over $16 billion in 2017. 
- Seniors are typically more susceptible to identity theft. The FTC reported that 35% of fraud complaints and 18.9% of identity theft complaints in 2017 were from seniors. 
- When considering all forms of financial abuse and outright fraud, criminals reportedly take over $36 billion each year from Americans aged 60 or older. 
- Formjacking – the cybercriminal act of ‘hijacking’ an online web form and tricking users into thinking their data is being submitted to a trusted site – is becoming increasingly prevalent. On average, around 4800 websites are compromised by formjacking attacks every month. 
- The most common type of formjacking? The hacking of forms that contain credit card information. 
- The good news is that sites are learning how to recognize formjacking and put a stop to it. In 2018, 3.7 million formjacking attempts were successfully blocked. 
Who is Responsible?
- 55% of U.S. consumers say companies should have the primary responsibility for the security of their customers’ online and mobile accounts, while 44% believe account owners should be responsible. Just 1% think the government should bear the onus. 
Data privacy is a global issue that affects billions of internet users each year. Consumers around the world are becoming increasingly worried about the protection of their online data. However, while data breaches have increased, awareness for data privacy continues to grow. Now more than ever, businesses and consumers alike are taking extra steps to safeguard their data and educate themselves on data privacy.