Prague, Czech Republic – “How well do you protect your personal data when you’re using your smartphone?” To answer that tricky question, the European Commission conducted a continent-wide survey to see how Europeans, 75% of which use a smartphone for private purposes – relate to data protection issues and to what extent (or if) they protect their digital privacy.
According to the results released by Eurostat a few days ago, Czechs are the least careful and most reckless users when it comes to protecting their personal data on their smartphones: two-thirds of smartphone users in the Czech Republic (67%) never restricted or refused applications access to their personal data, according to the findings of the survey. Czechs therefore have the lowest self-data protection rate in Europe, and by a wide margin: they’re followed by Bulgarians (49% never restricted access to their personal data), Cyprus and the United Kingdom (43%).
On average, 28% of respondents in the EU admit that they never restricted access to their personal data when using their smartphones for private purposes – nearly 40 percentage points lower than the Czech figure. Moreover, 7% of European smartphone users admitted that they didn’t know it was possible to refuse or restrict access to their personal data when using a smartphone app.
By contrast, the highest self-data protection was found in France, where only 10% of smartphone users never restricted or refused app access, followed by Germany (16%), Luxembourg and the Netherlands (both 17%).
Interestingly enough, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Czechs’ smartphones are more exposed and not as well protected as elsewhere in Europe: the average share of Czech users whose smartphone has some security system automatically installed or provided (40%) is in line with European average (43%). Moreover, the Czech Republic has the highest share of people with smartphones where a security system has been installed by somebody or subscribed to (34%, compared to 15% at the EU level). In other words, Czechs may be rather careless about the use of their personal data, including when they’re chatting on their favorite apps, but they don’t mess around and take matters into their own hands – much more so than anywhere else in Europe – when it comes to security measures. One shouldn’t be too surprised: we are, after all, talking about the country where the Avast antivirus software was first invented…
This fits with the rest of the results: only 4% of Czech smartphone owners have already lost information as a result of a virus or any other hostile type of programs (slightly lower than the EU average of 5%). This share is particularly strong in Hungary and Malta (both 13%), followed by Bulgaria (11%) and Croatia (10%).