As we noted yesterday on Data Privacy Day, more than 50% of internet users are concerned about their online privacy.

But what are people doing as a result of this sentiment? How willing are internet users to take practical steps in order to safeguard their online activities?

Well, one important response – revealed in our January 2014 release of data – is the use VPNs (virtual private networks) and proxy servers, tools which allow users to bypass restrictions and traditional monitoring mechanisms. Our research shows that 28% of the global internet population are doing this – a figure which translates to a (staggering) estimated audience of more than 415 million people.

When we drill down into the motivations for using these tools, the top responses relate to accessing content or restricted sites. But nearly 30% of VPN users are looking for anonymous browsing, with this global figure rising still higher in individual markets to reach 42% in France.

These results can leave little doubt about high highly the concepts of privacy and anonymity are prized and – as awareness of VPNs and similar tools grows – we have to imagine that this behavior will become still more common.

For more detailed insights on this topic, see our upcoming White Paper dedicated to audience measurement.

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Written by

Jason is Chief Research Officer at GlobalWebIndex. He oversees the global research and insight teams, directs the world-leading research study and specializes in analyzing consumer trends. He writes for titles like the Huffington Post and MediaPost and is a frequent contributor to stories on media outlets such as BBC News, CNN, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

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