A year after the European Union’s general data protection regulation (GDPR) went into force, Bulgarians were among the least informed EU citizens about the directive and their rights under GDPR, according to the results of an EU-wide Eurobarometer survey published on June 13.
Overall, 61 per cent of Bulgarian respondents said that they had at least heard of GDPR (compared to EU average of 67 per cent), but only 19 per cent knew what it was (third lowest among EU member states), and 42 per cent said that they heard about GDPR but did not know what it was, the highest ratio among EU member states.
As regards the right to access their data, 55 per cent of Bulgarian respondents were aware of it (the lowest in the EU, against an EU average of 65 per cent) and only 43 per cent knew about their right to correct their data if it is wrong (again the lowest in the EU, against an EU average of 61 per cent).
Bulgarians were also least aware of their right to have their data deleted and forgotten – 44 per cent, including nine per cent who have exercised it. Only 39 per cent were aware of their right to move their data from one provider to another (second lowest among EU member states).
Asked about how much control they felt they had over information provided online, Bulgarians were the most pessimistic respondents, with only 48 per cent saying that they felt they had at least some control, the lowest ratio in the EU. Bulgaria also showed the largest decline in that respect, compared to a previous survey in 2015, as the number of respondents who felt some measure of control declined by 13 percentage points.
Bulgarians were least likely to be asked to provide personal information online – 43 per cent said that they were asked “at least sometimes” and 13 per cent (second highest in the EU) said that they were never asked to provide such data.
When offered the opportunity to read privacy statements, however, 22 per cent of Bulgarian respondents said that they read such statements in full (fourth-highest in the EU), while the total number that read privacy statements at least partially was 61 per cent (against an EU average of 60 per cent).
When asked whether they had concerns about not having complete control over their data, only 61 per cent said that they were concerned, slightly below the EU-wide average of 62 per cent.
Despite that, only 43 per cent of respondents made an attempt to change default privacy settings of their personal profile on social media (tied for third lowest in the EU and below the EU average of 56 per cent).
The most frequently cited reason for not doing so was not knowing how to do it (35 per cent), while 20 per cent said that they were not aware it was possible to do so and another 20 per cent trusted the social media sites to set appropriate privacy settings.
On a related note, Bulgarians were among the most avid users of social networks in the EU (86 per cent, compared to an EU average of 76 per cent), but among the least likely to regularly purchase goods or services online (16 per cent versus an EU average of 39 per cent). Bulgarians were also less likely in the EU to use internet daily (64 per cent, with 22 per cent saying they never used internet).
(Photo: Michael Illuchine/sxc.hu)