Comments on the Norwegian Privacy Report 2014 - Current State and Trends

January 30 2014

I read in a Norwegian news publication yesterday that [more than 50% of Norwegians doesn’t care about Internet and network surveillance [1]. In the original 60 page report (survey and report ordered by the Norwegian Data Protection Authority), named Privacy 2014 - The Current State and Trends (“Personvern 2014 - Tilstand og Trender”), 46% of the 1501 participants state that they’ve gotten more concerned with privacy over the last 2–3 years.

The follow up question that the survey presented was “How much do you care about privacy?”. In the 1997 version of the survey 77% said they were “pretty engaged or very engaged” in privacy, while in 2013 there’s an increase to 87%. Not as bad as the news publication wants it to be in other words. I guess what is referred to is mentioned in the section “The Chilling Effects in Norway”, where more than half of the respondents states they haven’t changed online behaviour after the revelations of the American surveillance methodologies. I think this correlates to the next section (below). Also, more than 45% state that they would have continued as normal if Norway were to start a massive surveillance campaign in collaboration with foreign intelligence.

I read one section where asked “how much control of your own situation do you feel you have?”. More than half of the respondents answered themselves, and 33% the government. The latter is pretty amazing in my opinion. It’s obviously yourself that is responsible for your own situation. Seen in regard to that more than 78% wouldn’t pay 20 bucks a month for privacy in online services it’s even better.

The report also have it’s own section dedicated to the Snowden revelations. Pretty interesting that 53% responded that they didn’t care about the surveillance, it is unproblematic or that it’s just plain necessary. Interesting, considering that it’s another nation state than Norway we’re talking about here. I could have understood it if it was our own government, but another country? Anyways, that’s the facts.

One question that I perhaps miss in the survey is “have you done anything to protect your online presence from surveillance?”. One of the alternatives could for instance be: “I use end-to-end encryption, such as GPG”. It was obviously not that technical a survey, and I can respect that - but at the same time I see that’s where it have to end at some point. Thinking if I was employed in another type of occupation: I think people would have continued as normal if we get a mass-surveillance state because you get to a point of exhaustion due to the complexity of the technology and lack of knowledge on how to actually protect yourself. I also think that the hypothetical question of awareness of a mass-surveillance state would have had more chilling effects than people actually respond. The question actually reminds me of the Iron Curtain period, thinking that you are always surveilled.

The survey can be read in full here [2] (Norwegian), and I think it’s pretty good and thorough on the current state of privacy in Norway. The survey was delivered by Opinion Perduco. The 1997 survey was delivered by Statistics Norway.


Tags: #chilling #privacy #opinion
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