Online Data Privacy from Attitudes to Action: an evidence review

Section: The ALLIANCEDigitalType: News Item Date Published: 3rd September 2018

A newly published report from Carnegie UK Trust and Ipsos MORI Scotland provides an evidence review of existing data privacy research.

Privacy is a complex, personal and contested issue. Public policy debates around how the publics’ privacy should be protected online can often be informed by instinctive responses, emotive arguments or individual concerns.

A new report, Online Data Privacy from Attitudes to Action (this link will take you away from our website), published today by the Carnegie UK Trust and delivered by Ipsos MORI Scotland, provides a comprehensive evidence review of existing data privacy research, investigating the range of available UK studies. A short animation (this link will take you away from our website) has also been published to accompany the report.

The review asked three key questions:

  • What do people think about online data privacy?
  • What actions do people take in relation to their online privacy?
  • What trade-offs are people willing to make relating to their data privacy?

The report also explored variations in attitude and behaviour towards data privacy by different demographic groups; the factors that affect attitudes and behaviour; what changes individuals’ privacy behaviour; and trends over time.

The available evidence provides a series of consistent, inconclusive and contradictory messages, summarised in 13 concluding themes.

Importantly, a clear gap exists between the concerns the UK public have around their data privacy, the confidence the UK public has in managing their privacy and the actual behaviours taken to protect their data online, otherwise known as the ‘Privacy Paradox’. The review also highlighted an assortment of limitations in the existing literature and identified a number of practical challenges in researching data privacy to be considered for further studies.

The report is intended to provide a robust, timely and neutral evidence base which policymakers, practitioners and academics can utilise, and from which they can draw informed opinions with regards to data privacy attitudes and actions.

If you are undertaking research in this field or if you would like to find out any more about the project, please contact Anna Grant on (this link will take you away from our website).

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