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Swiss worry about online data protection, want increased regulation

Despite worries about personal data online, the majority see new technologies in general as an opportunity, particularly in education and the development of smart cities. © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

A survey on digitalisation released this week shows people’s greatest concern revolves around the fate of their personal data, though just as many believe new technologies hold great promise, especially in the areas of medicine, education and smart cities.

This content was published on February 13, 2020 - 18:44
Keystone-SDA/gw

Nearly two-thirds of respondents to an inquiry by the multi-stakeholder initiative digitalswitzerlandExternal link are worried about the loss of privacy online. A majority (62%) want to see more regulation for new technologies and the Internet. There was even support among those surveyed for an independent oversight body set up by the state.

Trust in service providers varied across sectors, with nearly two-thirds saying they trust health services (hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies) with handling their personal data. By contrast, only a quarter of people felt the same way about companies like Google and Amazon.

But there was scope for optimism. Some 73% of survey participants believe digitalisation holds great promise for advances in medicine and 42% thought it could help in the prevention of accidents. The overwhelming majority see new technologies in general as an opportunity, particularly in education and the development of smart cities.

As digitalisation spells changes in the workplace, nearly half believe that at least part of their job could be automated in the future. Just as many respondents also expect digitalisation will eliminate more jobs than it will create.

The digitalswitzerland survey, dubbed “tell”, was carried out last September on the occasion of Swiss National Digital Day. The initiative collected the opinions of more than 1,000 people who took part in a series of open discussions or “tell” events. The report was supplemented by two other quantitative surveys, one of them carried out by the sotomo institute.


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