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BSA poll finds most European citizens are unaware of where their online data is stored and unclear about who is responsible for protecting it
19-04-2010 IT/BSA source: PeppeR

Respondents report need for international coordination on cyber security

Widespread confusion exists among European citizens over where their online data is stored, according to a Business Software Alliance (BSA) poll released today. Nearly one in five European citizens admitted to being unaware of whether their personal data is being held ‘in the cloud’, with 60% responding that they did not know what ‘in the cloud’ means. Users were also unclear who should take responsibility for protecting their online data, suggesting a need for better coordination between government, businesses, and users and better education on cyber risks and best practices.


The findings were released on the occasion of BSA’s third European Cyber Security Awareness Day in Brussels. As more and more businesses, organizations, individuals, and governments choose to store data online – a phenomenon known as 'cloud computing' – cyber security and the threat of cyber crime is escalating in priority. The EU estimates that cyber criminals are using some six million hijacked computers to defraud people and spread spam.

The poll also found that respondents in all surveyed countries – Germany, France, Poland, Spain, and the UK – expressed a preference for international handling of cyber security over a national approach. Spain (77%) and Poland (74%) were most in favour of the international approach, with the UK less enthusiastic (46%) – despite recent calls from the House of Lords for greater involvement by the EU and increased cooperation with NATO on cyber security .

Francisco Mingorance, senior director of government relations at BSA said: "Most Europeans are looking for global leadership and collaboration to protect their personal information from hackers and cyber criminals. BSA is responding to these concerns by preparing a global cyber security policy framework that can help guide future international cooperation on securing the online environment."

John Turner, vice president for Symantec EMEA, one of the sponsors of the event, added: "Online risks and threats are continuing to evolve and grow in volume, sophistication, size, and scale. Online criminal organizations are running a thriving, sophisticated underground economy where European citizens’ information is a valuable commodity and sold at the best price to online criminal gangs."

Commenting on the findings of the European poll, Matt Thomlinson, general manager of product security at Microsoft, also sponsoring the European cyber security event, echoed: "Enabling a safer, more trusted, connected society is a shared challenge for government, industry, and consumers. Innovative approaches to reducing risk and increasing resiliency require trusted public private partnerships."

The BSA survey was conducted by YouGov. The survey questions were asked to a nationally representative sample of adult respondents in France, Germany, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom. The total sample is 4,235 individuals. The surveys were conducted online.

Notes for editors - Other poll highlights:
· In four out of five countries, a majority of respondents did not understand the concept of ‘in the cloud’ and that their data could be stored online.
· More than two-thirds of all respondents felt that responsibility for securing data held ‘in the cloud’ lay outside the businesses that actually use the data.
· More than one quarter of respondents, and three of the five European countries, expressed belief that a combination of stakeholders including government, businesses, technology companies, and consumers should be responsible for securing data held ‘in the cloud’.
· In every country, respondents expressed a preference for international handling of cyber security over a national approach.

About BSA
The Business Software Alliance ( is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world's commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent one of the fastest growing industries in the world. BSA programs foster technology innovation through education and policy initiatives that promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA members include: Adobe, Altium, Apple, Asseco Poland S.A., Attachmate, Autodesk, Autoform, AVEVA, AVG, Bentley Systems, CA, Cadence, Cisco, CNC/Mastercam, Corel, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation, DBA Lab S.p.A., Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Kaspersky Lab, Mamut, Map License, McAfee, Microsoft, Minitab, NedGraphics, O&O Software, Parametric Technology Corporation, Progress Software, Quark, Quest, Rosetta Stone, Scalable Software, Siemens, Sybase, Symantec, Synopsys, Tekla, The MathWorks.


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