November 8, 2016

electronica Trend Index: Worldwide, Germans rely the most on data protection

76 of Germans demand that electronic devices have an update service in the future that protects them against hacker attacks. That means that, in the connected world, Germans are considerably more prudent than their European neighbors or consumers in Asia and the USA. That applies to electronics in their own homes as well as in the public sphere. Those are the results of the electronica Trend Index 2020. On behalf of the international trade fair electronica, a total of 7,000 consumers in seven countries around the world were interviewed for the survey—including a representative group of 1,000 Germans.

Constant increases in the networking of electronic devices is making people's lives more convenient. However, immense quantities of data are being generated that could allow others to draw several conclusions about the user or even make it possible for data to be deleted or manipulated by unauthorized persons. That is why three-fourths of consumers in Germany are calling for devices that regularly update their own software to protect themselves against hacker attacks. An impressive 90 percent of Germans have a positive view of such security measures. By comparison: In Japan, only about half of all consumers are demanding corresponding anti-hacker protection. That figure is about 65 percent in France and Great Britain, and about 70 percent in Italy, the USA and China.

Data protection in the smart home
When it comes to the “smart home” or the connected home, Germans must also strike a balance between convenience and security: Is convenient remote control from outside the home really secure enough to send data from the home to external devices over the Internet? Right now, only 48 percent of those surveyed want to be able to check the opened/closed status of their windows and doors when they are on the go. Approximately half are interested in remote-control capabilities. The French and the British are similarly critical. However, the Italians and US Americans who were surveyed said they could imagine warming up to smart-home technology. The approval rating there was about 65 percent.

Take care when monitoring—except in the case of cars
Many Germans are also reserved when it comes to data from public sources, or the so-called smart city. For example, a comparatively low number of Germans (57 percent) are in favor of more camera monitoring to deter criminal activity. Consumers in other countries such as Italy (73 percent), China (72 percent) and the USA (64 percent) are more open about the use of data for that purpose. Germans don't become more accepting about transmitting data until it comes to their cars. 69 percent said they would favor cars that send their locations to the police when someone tries to steal them. In this case, Germans are in the group of international leaders—along with China (76 percent), Italy (76 percent) and the USA (69 percent). Self-protecting cars appear on the wish lists of Japanese consumers much less frequently (45 percent).

Highly cautious about patient data
When asked about medical information, i.e. e-health, the majority of German consumers see red when it comes to data protection: 76 percent demand highly effective protection of patient data—no other country attributed greater importance to this topic. Only 28 percent said that they would expressly agree to having their medical data collected online and evaluated for research purposes. 31 percent clearly rejected the idea. In this area, Germans joined the Japanese in expressing the greatest reluctance. In all other countries that participated in the survey, the explicit approval rating was more than 40 percent. In China it was just less than 70 percent.

  • electronica