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40+ Internet Privacy Statistics & Trends

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Millions of people engage in online activities daily, leaving behind a digital trail that marketing companies, the government, and cybercriminals pick up on.

Without adequate policies and regulations, online data collection by a monopoly of players can harm your online democracy. To ensure you are not the target of these threats, you must be serious about your privacy while browsing the internet.

Here’s a collection of internet privacy statistics, facts, and trends to help you learn more about privacy and how to protect yourself. 

Top 6 Internet Privacy Stats (Editor’s Pick)

  • Badoo collected the most user activity data from iOS users in 2022.
  • In 2022, China had the most restrictions on internet usage worldwide.
  • In 2022, Egypt and Ethiopia had the least Internet freedom in Africa.
  • In 2022, 63% of online users worldwide were willing to compromise their internet privacy for comfort.
  • In 2023, 65% of the global population will have their data protected by modern privacy laws.
  • In 2022, Amazon received the highest fine for a GDRP violation.

Infographic

top 6 internet privacy statistics
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Global Internet Privacy Statistics

1. As of August 2022, the number of records exposed during the Cam4 data breach remains the highest.

In March 2020, 10.88 billion records were leaked during the Cam4 data breach, making it the most prominent breach worldwide. Second is the Yahoo breach, where 3 billion records were exposed.

2. The healthcare sector's average data breach cost rose to $10.1 million in 2022.

This accounted for a growth of $0.87 million from $9.23 million seen between May 2020 and March 2021.

3. 71% of companies in 2021 collected data from residents of the EU.

Meanwhile, 59% of companies admitted to collecting personal data from individuals living in Canada, while 43% collected data from residents in the UK.

4. 77% of Americans in 2023 are not knowledgeable about online privacy.

Yet, 68% know that online companies track their online activity and think it is unfair. 18% do not care what companies learn about them online.

5. 97% of Internet users in 2021 agreed to privacy policies.

Meanwhile, 93% agreed to terms of service statements. However, regarding user attitudes towards privacy policies, 74% of them skipped them, spending only an average of 13.9 seconds on them, with 34% (of 74%) completely ignoring them.  

6. 41% of American internet users in 2021 underwent online harassment.

12% were sexual harassment, 35% were offensive name-calling, and 18% were physical threats.

Online Harassment Percentage
Offensive name-calling 35%
Purposeful embarrassment 26%
Any form of severe harassment 27%
Physical threats 18%
Sexual harassment 12%
Stalking 13%
Sustained harassment 12%

7. In Q4 2021, 290 million desktop users utilized Adblockers.

In comparison, 530 million mobile users worldwide were using ad-blockers.

In 2019, 765.3 million mobile and desktop users were using ad blockers.

8. 51% of American-based internet marketers in 2021 used third-party cookies for their marketing strategy.

10% didn’t find third-party cookies essential or valuable.

9. Badoo collected the most user activity data from iOS users in 2022.

Bumble and HER tied in second with an index value of 68. Grindr and Tinder were third and fourth, with index values of 62 and 38.4, respectively.     

Internet Freedom and Privacy Statistics

10. In 2022, China had the most restrictions on internet usage worldwide.

China is the most Internet-surveilled country globally, with about 1.4 billion people affected. Coming a close second was India, with about 1.3 billion of the population feeling the effects of internet limitation.

Region Number of Affected People in Millions
China 1,439.3
India 1,380
Pakistan 220.9
Brazil 212.6
Nigeria 206.1
Russia 145.9
Iran 84

11. India scored 49 out of 100 on a scale of least free to most free regarding the degree of internet freedom in 2021.

The score dropped from 59 in 2016.

Year Share of Internet Freedom on a Scale of 0 to 100
2016 59
2017 59
2018 57
2019 55
2020 51
2021 49

12. In 2022, Egypt and Ethiopia had the least Internet freedom in Africa.

These two ranked least with 27 freedom house index points each.

Meanwhile, South Africa and Kenya enjoyed the most internet freedom at 73 and 68 index points, respectively.

13. In 2022, mobile magazine apps had the highest number of third-party trackers among other app categories.

They had an average of 2 first-party trackers and up to 26 third-party trackers.

In comparison, social media apps had an average of 4 third-party trackers.

14. 23% of Americans in 2022 used a VPN to hide their internet activity from their Internet Service Provider.

Meanwhile, 50% used it for general privacy, while 17% and 10% used it to hide their internet activity from search engines and bypass governmental or institutional restrictions.

Reasons for Using a VPN Percentage of Users
General security 55%
General privacy 50%
Hide internet activity from ISP 23%
Hide internet activity from search engine 17%
Bypass government/institutional restrictions 10%
Anonymity for whistle-blowing, activism, or journalism 5%

User Concern Internet Privacy Statistics

15. 63% of global internet users in 2022 were worried someone would steal their identity.

Meanwhile, 53% were confident they took the necessary precautions to protect themselves from identity theft. 49% were sure their identity would be stolen at some point.

Internet User Attitudes Percentage
“I feel more vulnerable to identity theft now than a few years ago.” 68%
“I’m worried malicious actors will steal my identity.” 63%
“I’m actively protecting myself from identity theft.” 53%
“I’m well protected against identity theft.” 51%
“Someone will steal my identity at some point.” 49%

16. In 2022, 30% of global Internet users did nothing to protect their online activities or personal data.

Meanwhile, 70% were actively taking steps to protect their online identity.

Of these, 28% changed their privacy settings on their devices, 16% used anonymous payment methods, and 18% used a VPN.

How Internet Users Protected Their Online Identity Share of Users Who Actively Protected Their Identity
Activated online parental controls on accounts and devices 36%
Activated multi-factor authentication 30%
Configured privacy settings on devices 28%
Utilized identity theft protection services 27%
Disabled third-party cookies in browsers 25%
Used a VPN 18%
Deleted a social media account 17%
Utilized an encrypted messaging app or email 17%
Utilized anonymous payment methods 16%
Reviewed what personal information companies had on them 9%
Other 4%

17. 63% of users in 2021 did not trust the internet.

Only 6 out of 10 users acknowledged that they trusted the internet, representing an 11% drop from 74% in 2019. Only Japan recorded a 7% increase in internet trust.

18. In 2021, 79% of Internet users worried about online privacy.

Meanwhile, 50% believed that online security at the time was enough.

19. In 2022, 63% of online users worldwide were willing to compromise their internet privacy for comfort.

Regarding regions, New Zealand topped the list, with 74% of residents willing to compromise their privacy if it meant more convenience. Meanwhile, 57% globally believed that it was virtually impossible to protect their online privacy.

20. 83% of global internet users in 2022 were willing to take more action to protect their online privacy.

Regarding regions, 89% of Australians, 88% of New Zealand residents, and 86% of US residents supported this idea. India came in the least, with only 70% of users agreeing.

internet users willing to take more action to protect online privacy
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21. 34% of adults in 2021 believed it was likely that their online accounts would be hacked.

50% of adults in Turkey believed that one or several of their accounts would be hacked. 52% of South Korean residents thought this was highly unlikely.

22. 72% of American Internet users in 2021 felt tech companies had too much control over their data.

Spain, UK, and US residents agreed at 75%, 75%, and 72%, respectively.

China and Sweden had the least number of residents agreeing at 56% and 54% respectively.

23. 32.2% of Internet users in Argentina in 2022 declined and deleted browser cookies.

Meanwhile, 30.5% preferred staying anonymous online, while 38.5% were concerned with how companies used their data. 

Concerns Among Argentinian Internet Users Share of Argentina Internet Users
Expressed concern over what was real or fake online 59.5%
Doubtful about how companies were using their data 38.5%
Preferred to decline or delete browser cookies 32.2%
Preferred to stay anonymous online 30.5%
Comfortable with mobile apps tracking them 24.5%

Internet Privacy Personal Data Statistics

24. 64% of Americans in 2021 felt their social media information was insecure online.

According to a poll by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC), most Americans don’t trust existing online security protocols.

Two-thirds felt their online activities, such as social media and physical location, were insecure.

Area of Insecurity Percentage Share
Social media activity 64%
Physical location 63%
Private text messages 50%

25. In 2021, Virginia and Colorado enacted new privacy laws to protect consumer data.

Virginia and Colorado joined California in passing new privacy laws that took effect in January 2023. 

26. 57% of global Internet users in 2022 felt that protecting their online privacy was a complicated task.

Regarding regions, 64% of those in Japan agreed, accounting for the region with the highest percentage. Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand came in second and third, with 63% and 59%, respectively. 

27. In 2021, about 70% of global Internet users sought ways to improve online privacy.

Of these, Indians were the most proactive at 76%. Germany and Dutch were less aggressive, with only 61% and 55%, respectively.

28. Only about 25% of iOS users globally allowed app tracking after the iOS 14.5 update.

As of April 2022, about 75% of iPhone users chose to deactivate app tracking on their phones after the iOS 14.5 update.

29. In 2021, 9 of 10 Internet users in several regions agreed that privacy is crucial.

In the UK, 76% believed cybercriminals could target them

Therefore, 51% utilized tools to increase their privacy, while 51% had control over their data over the internet.

9 out of 10 users agree that privacy is crucial
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Internet Privacy Regulations & Fines Statistics

30. In 2023, 65% of the global population will have their data protected by modern privacy laws.

In 2020, only 10% of the global population had their data protected under current privacy laws. Projections reveal that there will be a 55% rise in the number of users under protection under modern privacy laws in 2023.

31. In 2021, 71% of privacy experts admitted that their security companies transferred EU data to non-EU countries for informational processing.

4% claimed not to be aware, while 25% were sure their companies did not.

32. 45% of marketers in 2021 found it challenging to balance data privacy regulations and personalization.

Meanwhile, 41% had difficulty protecting their data usage against sudden changes such as the removal of third-party cookies or privacy regulations.

Challenge Percentage Share
Balancing data privacy requirements and expectations with the right level of personalization 45%
Creating a single view of the customer with other marketing channels 43%
Future proofing the use of data and insights to account for changes such as privacy regulations and removal of third-party cookies 41%
Lack of access to real-time data 41%
Personalizing experiences across channels 40%

33. In 2021, 43% of users felt the Internet severely lacked governance.

Meanwhile, 57% felt that the Internet was effectively governed, taking up 45% in the US, 45% in Britain, 41% in France, and 34% in Israel.

34. In 2021, 65% of users felt that protecting user privacy would improve trust in the Internet.

Meanwhile, 59% felt that policies should be in place to manage the activities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Policies to Improve Internet Trust Percentage
Protection of user privacy 65%
Protection of user’s data 65%
Establishment of standards detailing how companies should collect & make use of data 62%
Establishment of policies allowing users to control their data 62%
Policies to set standards for ISP activities 59%

35. Meta was fined 17 million in 2022 by the EU for data breaches.

In addition, it also received a 405 million fine for violating Instagram’s children’s privacy settings and 265 million for failing to secure users from data scraping.

In January 2023, it received a further 390 million for illegal ad practices from the EU.

36. In 2022, Amazon received the highest fine for a GDRP violation.

The fine amounted to 746 million euros. Meanwhile, Whatsapp came in second at 225 million euros, Google at 90 million, and Facebook at 60 million.  

Tech Companies & Internet Privacy Statistics

37. In H1 2022, Google received 194,051 user data disclosure requests from federal agencies and governments worldwide.

The US made 72,718 of these requests, making it the region with the most.

India came in second at 32,335 and Germany third at 25,668.

38. In H1 2022, Facebook received 237,414 user data disclosure requests for 412,285 users from federal agencies and governments worldwide.

Of these requests, Facebook provided data for over 76% of them. 

The US had a request volume of 63,657. India and Germany came second and third with 42,275 and 15,554, respectively.

39. Twitter received 9,811 global user data information requests in H2 2021 from governments and federal agencies.

India made the most requests, with 2,027 routine and 184 emergency requests.

France came second with 1,878 routine and 115 emergency requests.

Spain had the least requests with 107 routine and 1 emergency request.

global user data information requests
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40. In H2 2021, Twitter received 46,631 data removal requests from government and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

It also received 941 court orders for data removal, with 525 from Turkey and 185 from Russia.

41. TikTok received 3,396 global data information requests in H2 2021 from government and federal agencies.

Of these, 1,306 came from the US, and 580 came from Germany.     

Conclusion

From the above statistics, there is no doubt that internet privacy is a major concern. On the one hand, you have the government monitoring all your online activities; on the other, companies are tracking your data for marketing.

Simultaneously, only a few internet privacy laws help protect your privacy online. Therefore, online privacy starts with you. Stay away from suspicious sites, download and install a premium antivirus, and use a reliable VPN.

That said, feel free to look at some of our latest statistics on the Internet and Internet usage

Interesting Reads:
References:
  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/290525/cyber-crime-biggest-online-data-breaches-worldwide/
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/387861/cost-data-breach-by-industry/
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1172965/firms-collecting-personal-data/
  4. https://www.statista.com/statistics/296700/personal-data-security-perception-online/
  5. https://www.statista.com/statistics/617422/online-privacy-measures-worldwide/
  6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1023952/global-opinion-concern-internet-privacy-risk-convenience/
  7. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1228062/opinion-online-security-worldwide/
  8. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1233743/global-consumers-opinion-tech-personal-data/
  9. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1122375/internet-users-believe-lost-control-personal-information-collected/
  10. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1122387/internet-users-worldwide-looking-better-ways-protect-privacy/
  11. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1234634/app-tracking-transparency-opt-in-rate-worldwide/
  12. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1175672/population-personal-data-regulations-worldwide/
  13. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1172995/data-transfer-from-the-eu/
  14. https://www.statista.com/statistics/379706/leading-marketing-success-challenges-worldwide/
  15. https://www.statista.com/statistics/273501/global-data-requests-from-google-by-federal-agencies-and-governments/
  16. https://www.statista.com/statistics/277230/facebooks-global-user-data-requests/
  17. https://www.statista.com/statistics/287845/global-data-requests-from-facebook-by-federal-agencies-and-governments/
  18. https://www.statista.com/statistics/234867/government-requests-for-user-data-from-twitter/
  19. https://www.statista.com/statistics/234858/number-of-requests-for-data-removal-from-twitter/
  20. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1091544/global-data-requests-tiktok-by-country/
  21. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/trifecta-new-privacy-laws-protect-personal-data
  22. https://www.ipsos.com/en/trust-in-the-internet-2022
  23. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/07/technology/online-privacy-tracking-report.html
  24. https://mdpi-res.com/d_attachment/information/information-12-00144/article_deploy/information-12-00144-v3.pdf?version=1617937725
  25. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1290708/top-surveilled-countries-worldwide/
  26. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1219068/freedom-on-the-internet-india/
  27. https://www.statista.com/statistics/373357/degree-of-internet-freedom-in-africa/
  28. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1290334/trackers-mobile-apps-by-category/
  29. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1342701/reason-vpn-usage-united-states/
  30. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1192794/meta-fines-from-eu-and-dpc/
  31. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1133337/largest-fines-issued-gdpr/
  32. https://www.statista.com/statistics/333942/us-internet-online-harassment-severity/
  33. https://www.statista.com/statistics/350726/adblocking-users/
  34. https://www.statista.com/statistics/606357/mobile-adblocking-browser-users-worldwide/
  35. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1302211/internet-users-privacy-factors-opinions-by-country/
  36. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1312382/argentina-digital-privacy-concers-and-actions/
  37. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1222230/reliance-cookie-advertising-usa/
  38. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1302079/dating-apps-collecting-users-data-ios/
  39. https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-data-privacy-only-on-ap-4ff0652fac750b770a456c1177c54dc1