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Public awareness (or lack thereof) of the GDPR, its consequences and possibilities

Company: TaylorWessing e|n|w|c advokáti v.o.s.

The international law firm Taylor Wessing has long focused on the GDPR issue. In the framework of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, it conducted a survey of 502 people about their knowledge of the regulation, sources of information about the GDPR, knowledge of the possibility to create a detailed description of people’s behaviour using data from the Internet, the portability of personal data and whether they are aware companies cannot condition the delivery of a service or good to the granting of consent to the processing of their personal data. The survey took place at the turn of April / May 2018. Commenting on the results is Karin Pomaizlová, a Taylor Wessing Praha partner and expert on the GDPR.


Pomaizlová summarizes: "It is very positive that almost half of the respondents were aware of GDPR. This new regulation brings both obligations for companies and rights to every individual who, in particular, in his private time surf the Internet and uses the services which it offers. However, I know from my practice that few have a truly in-depth knowledge of personal data protection and what rights and obligations it involves. I believe that there is still room for further initiatives and awareness-raising, especially by small and medium-sized companies, which include independent doctors, consultants, IT specialists, start-ups. However, also online giants already need to take many measures worldwide, even if it is an EU regulation only. The GDPR inevitably brings with it many interpretative questions that will need to be clarified in practice. "

So 50:50

The current survey shows that 48% of respondents were already familiar with this regulation privacy, of whom almost 24% knew exactly what the abbreviation meant. More than 24% of respondents knew that there was a new EU regulation but did not have any further information about it. Nonetheless, almost 52% of respondents did not know that the GDPR is a new European regulation governing the protection of personal data and what the handling of such data entails. These respondents had not met come across the abbreviation and were hearing about it for the first time due to this survey.

Source of information about the GDPR

Of those respondents who were aware of the GDPR, the biggest percentage learned about the new regulation mainly from the state, that is, from public radio or public television (31.4% of respondents) followed by those who learned about it from social networks (31%). A significant percentage learned about it through the internal educational or training efforts of companies (23%). A larger group found friends and acquaintances to be a trusted source in this area (22.7%) and the same percentage found it themselves somewhere. Relatively few were informed through company registered letters (11.2%) and commercial radio broadcasting (5.8%).

Big Brother – profiling internet users

In the questionnaire, respondents also answered whether they knew that by using modern technologies and the Internet, companies can create a detailed description of their behaviour and preferences, i.e. could engage in so-called profiling of the Internet user. Only 13.7% knew about this and had detailed information on how to prevent it. Others, around 62%, knew that Big Brother exists, so to speak, but most of the time they do nothing about it and are satisfied with knowing that this is the status quo. Almost 24% of respondents were hearing of it for the first time.

Do you know that companies can create a detailed description of your online behaviour and preferences?

Asked whether they are pleased that more emphasis is now being placed on companies to respect their privacy when working with their personal data and processing them, more than 80% of respondents said they certainly were; only 7% said the opposite. The remained of the target sample, nearly 13%, said it didn’t matter to them.

A Pomaizlová adds: "The assumption of the intended effect of the GDPR is, among other things, to increase the security of personal data, as it is a commodity that is tradable and with modern technology very easily can be used against each of us. End-users, respect. data subjects, individuals, should benefit from greater respect for their privacy and personal data."

Survey part

In the survey conducted by STEM / MARK, 50.2% of those polled were men and 49.8% were women. Of the respondents, 41.5% were aged 30-44; almost 30% were aged 15-29, and 28.5% were aged 45-59. In the area of education, almost 39.4% of respondents had graduated from high school, 22.7% were university graduates and 37.8% did not have a high school diploma.

The poll was conducted nationwide, in all regional districts of the Czech Republic. The largest percentage of respondents were from the region of Prague and Central Bohemia (25%), followed by Moravia-Silesia and Southern Moravia (each 11.4%) and Ústí (7.6%) Other regions accounted for 4–6% of respondents. The smallest percentage were from the Karlovy Vary region (3%). There were 502 respondents. The survey took place at the turn of April/May 2018.

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