Consumers Around the Globe Worried About How Much Personal Information They Share Online; Survey Reveals Need for More Education and Transparency

More than half of consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France worry about how much personal data they have shared online; three in five know little or nothing about their rights

SAN FRANCISCO – Mar. 6, 2018 – A new survey on consumer attitudes around digital identity has revealed that a majority of consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France are concerned about how much personal data they have shared online and know little about their rights regarding their own data.

The survey, conducted by ComRes Global on behalf of digital identity management expert ForgeRock, found that more than half (53%) of the 8,434 consumers polled worry about how much personal data they have shared online. Nearly a third of parents (30%) are worried about how much information they have shared online about their children.

Other key findings include:

  • Consumers don’t know how much of their digital identity is shared online: The research reveals a lack of awareness among consumers about how much of their information is available online with nearly half (47%) of consumers saying they do not feel they know how much data is available about them online.
  • There is a disparity between what consumers believe they have shared, versus what they have actually shared: 76% of adults surveyed say that they use the internet to access products and services and make purchases – yet only 31% say that they have shared their debit or credit card details online.
  • Consumers are strongly resistant to brands sharing their data: Consumers are also concerned about having their data shared with third parties. Only one in three (33%) say they would be fine with sharing data in exchange for a more personalized service, with over half (51%) saying they would not be comfortable for their personal information to be shared with a third party under any circumstances. Just 15% say that they would be likely to sell personal data to an organization.
  • Consumers believe that sharing their personal data benefits businesses more than consumers: 41% of those surveyed believe that the data they share online is used to mainly or only benefit the organization holding it, compared to just 17% who think that it is mainly used to benefit consumers.

“These results suggest that many consumers are concerned about how much of their digital identities have been shared online, and how that information might be used by businesses,” said Eve Maler, Vice President of Innovation & Emerging Technology in ForgeRock's Office of the CTO. “Given a choice, the majority would prefer to share less. This should be a concern for businesses, since many brands rely on data from consumers to drive revenues and inform business decisions. Organizations need to take notice of these concerns and focus on building trust and brand loyalty by giving consumers greater visibility and control over how their data is being collected, managed and shared.”

The survey illustrated that consumers believe the organizations that collect their personal data are responsible for safeguarding it. Only 9% of consumers believe that an individual is primarily responsible for protecting their own data; 57% say that it is the responsibility of the business that holds the data.  

Consumers are also clear about the actions they would take against any company sharing their data without their consent:

  • 56% of consumers would stop using the company’s services completely
  • 49% would remove or delete all the data held on them by that company
  • 46% would advise their family and friends against using the company 
  • 32% would take legal action
  • 27% would contact the police and 26% would request financial compensation

Although consumers are concerned about how their data is managed and shared, only a few know how they can protect and manage their personal information:

  • 35% of consumers know how to remove personal data they have shared online
  • 57% of consumers say they know little or nothing about their rights regarding personal data shared online
  • Only 31% know who would be liable if their personal data is hacked or stolen

“Industry and government need to come together to raise awareness around how consumer data is used and the rights and protections that are in place,” Maler continued. “Failure to do so will ultimately result in consumers losing trust in the brands they deal with online, damaging both revenues and reputations.”

To learn more about ForgeRock please visit To download a copy of the report, visit the ForgeRock blog.

About the research
The research, commissioned by digital identity company ForgeRock and carried out by ComRes Global, surveyed 8,434 consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France online between 3rd and 12th of January 2018 about their digital identities and the personal information they have shared online. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults from each country by age, gender and region. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at

About ForgeRock

ForgeRock® is the Digital Identity Management company transforming the way organizations interact securely with customers, employees, devices, and things. Organizations adopt the ForgeRock Identity Platform™ as their digital identity system of record to monetize customer relationships, address stringent regulations for privacy and consent (GDPR, HIPAA, FCC privacy, etc.), and leverage the internet of things. ForgeRock serves hundreds of brands, including Morningstar, Vodafone, GEICO, TomTom, and Pearson, as well as governments such as Norway, New Zealand, and Belgium, among many others. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, ForgeRock has offices in Austin, London, Bristol, Grenoble, Munich, Paris, Oslo, Singapore, Sydney and Vancouver, Washington. ForgeRock is privately held, backed by leading global venture capital firms Accel Partners, Foundation Capital, Meritech Capital and KKR. For more information and free downloads, visit or follow ForgeRock on social media:

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