Data Privacy in the EU and the US | Report | FTI Consulting

Data Privacy in the EU and the US

With big data the subject of much media focus and top of the public’s mind, FTI Consulting presents the first in its findings of a comparative study that explores attitudes towards data protection in both the EU and US.

Strategic Communications

December 9, 2013

The collection and processing of large volumes of data can result in a number of benefits, such as the progression of science and technology, discovery of new drugs, increased safety, target marketing and overall more accurate analysis that allows for more informed decision making. Big data is already much more than just a buzz word: today whole business models are focusing on services that make use of big data.

Data privacy has become one of the biggest issues in negotiations between the EU and US following revelations of the US intelligence services covert surveillance programmes. Many of the companies that collect data on EU citizens are based in the US. For these companies the free flow of data between the two economies is vital. The collection of personal data is of concern to the public and, in order to ensure that the stakeholders involved develop policies that address these concerns, we need to support the understanding of changing attitudes towards big data in order to support economic growth.

FTI Consulting has therefore conducted a comparative study in the EU and the US to understand public opinions on big data. FTI Consulting conducted two separate surveys: in the US, telephone interviews were conducted from 29 May to 02 June 2013 among 1,000 adults aged 18 and over. In Europe, online polling was carried out from 25 to 28 October 2013 among 1,536 adults aged 18 and over in six key EU Member States: Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The same questions were asked in both the EU and US polls however, additional questions were included in the EU study. This was to determine the change in attitudes regarding the latest developments in data protection and to focus on an EU specific angle. It is important to note that the survey in the US predated the covert surveillance revelations by a few days, whereas the survey in the EU was conducted several months after these revelations.

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