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Data privacy report: German and UK Internet users more likely to quit services over privacy fears

Internet users from the UK and Germany are more likely to stop using or delete an account for an online service than those from the United States, according to research into data privacy concerns.

The report by German software firm Open-Xchange, called Crossing the Line, investigated how online behaviour has been affected by Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding government surveillance programmes.

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Surveying 3,000 web users from the UK, US and Germany, the study found that 35.5 per cent of German respondents have stopped using an online service, compared with 18 per cent in the UK and just 13 per cent in the US.

Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange, believes that recent high-profile events have changes how some users view going online.

“The last 18 months has been a pivotal time for the future of the Internet,” he said. “Suspicions that many of us have long held about the privacy of our data were confirmed with the revelations of Edward Snowden. It brought the discussion about data privacy to the top of the agenda. But a year and a half later we’re no closer to resolving the issues raised, despite much posturing from the big Internet companies and bureaucrats.

“Services like social networks, messaging apps and cloud storage have become part of the fabric of our daily lives. But by continuing to pursue exploitative, dishonest business models, we will see more and more people switch off from these online services.”

The report also found that Facebook was the service that respondents were most likely to quit, with 17 per cent of Germans, nine per cent of British and six per cent of US Internet users leaving the social network. Some other highly ranked user concerns include what happens to personal data after it is collected and the security of emails and private messages.

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The report concluded that online businesses need to provide greater transparency in order to gain users’ trust, providing clear and concise details of whether personal data is going to be barused or shared with third-party firms.