Companies are collecting all kinds of data about our online activities, whether we are browsing the Internet, watching online content, or posting on social media. Together, this record of our data makes up our digital identity. However, there is no official list of what data is collected, leaving consumers confused about where they are being tracked and what data is associated with them. Across the board, people are distrustful and uncomfortable about how their data is being used by companies and governments, even when it comes to noble causes like tracking the spread of COVID-19. Two things are certain: people don’t want to be tracked, and they place a high value on privacy.
The unintended ramification is a cost for getting the digital privacy people so badly desire. Data tracking benefits companies in many ways, especially those that directly profit from selling consumer data. As a result, consumers often have to sacrifice their privacy to access services they want or need, leading to decreasing levels of trust. There is also an unintended tax on citizens’ time as they struggle to prove their identity repeatedly each year. These “3 Ts” (tracking, trust, and time) reveal the tradeoffs that consumers face as they use online services and seek some level of digital privacy.
To better understand how people perceive both their digital identity and how it is managed, Okta commissioned Juniper Research to conduct an online survey of over 12,000 people between the ages of 18 and 75 in six countries: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. When COVID-19 changed our world, Juniper went back and asked nearly 6,000 of those original respondents how the pandemic has affected the way they think about privacy. The respondents were selected on a nationally representative basis of age, gender, and location. This report will summarise the findings of that survey.