eupinions echo 7 Aug, 2020

More Than Half of all EU Citizens are Concerned About Their Online Data

While Europeans mostly worry about online fraud, terrorism, too, is a wide spread concern.

eupinions echo More Than Half of all EU Citizens are Concerned About Their Online Data

Every week, surveys from all across the EU tell us what Europeans are thinking, feeling and talking about. In our new segment, eupinions echo, we collect these voices and play them back to you. Each week, we highlight one survey of particular interest in a short blogpost and share daily new survey results via our website and our twitter channel.


Currently the European Union is in the process of adopting a new framework to deal with the issue of ever evolving and increasingly complex cross-border security threats. The EU security union strategy 2020-24 means to outline a joint strategy to meet threats such as terrorism, organized crime and cyber-crime on a European level. To back up the strategy's roll-out, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has now released a survey study, titled "Your Rights Matter: Security Concerns and Experiences", questioning EU citizens about their perception and experience with various forms of cross-border security issues. The newly published results are all part of FRA's larger Fundamental Rights Survey, which we covered before here and here.

So, what is the survey telling us? Respondents were first asked to indicate their degree of worry about experiencing various different threats. Over half of all EU citizens (55%) stated that they were particularly concerned about their online data – the information they share on the internet and social media – being accessed and used by criminals and fraudsters. An even greater share of 63% of respondents, similarly, were either somewhat or very worried about having their online bank account or credit card details misused in the next 12 months.

In the area of cyber-threats, respondents were also asked about their personal experience with crimes of that nature. A closer look at this section of the report reveals, that, while a lot of Europeans are worried about being targeted online, far fewer have actually personally experienced something similar before. Over the last five years leading up to the survey, less than one in 10 people in the EU (8%) have personally experienced an incident where their online bank account or credit card details have been used without permission to defraud or steal from them. Slightly more respondents (14%) have experienced issues of cyber harassment over the same time frame, although the share of people experiencing harassment in person (38%) remained significantly larger in comparison.

The results of the report regarding worries and experiences of cyber-crime line up with the FRA Fundamental Rights survey's earlier findings about EU citizens' willingness to share their own data online. Back in June FRA had reported, that 41% of Europeans did not want to share any personal data with private companies, whereas 23% of Europeans did not want to share any personal data with public administrations.

Not all security worries of EU citizens were exclusively cyber-related. Acts of terrorism remain a real worry of many Europeans, too, with 19% of respondents stating they were very worried about experiencing a terrorist attack over the next 12 months and an additional 28% saying they were at least somewhat worried about such an event.  



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About the survey: The survey by the Eurobarometer was commissioned by the European Parliament and conducted by Kantar. In total 26,578 Europeans were interviewed via telephone between the 6th and 11th January 2020. At the time of fieldwork, the UK was still a member of the European Union, and therefore, results from the UK are included in the report's findings unless otherwise stated here.