Eurobarometer survey shows support for sustainability and data sharing

Europeans want their digital devices to be easier to repair or recycle and are willing to share their personal information to improve public services, as a special Eurobarometer survey shows. The survey, released today, measured attitudes towards the impact of digitalisation on daily lives of Europeans in 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom. It covers several different areas including digitalisation and the environment, sharing personal information, disinformation, digital skills and the use of digital ID.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “Our digital strategy is not about making Europe more like China or the US, but about making Europe more like herself. The new survey confirms that Europeans are aware of new opportunities which digital brings to their lives. But at the same time they also want better control over their digital identity and the way in which their data is used. Our strategy aims to make sure that we can fully reap the benefits that digital technologies offer to us.”  

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “Europeans are embracing the advantages of digital technologies and they are increasingly aware of the importance of secure data sharing and sustainability in the tech sector. It is a strong signal for us that the EU’s digital strategy which puts people first and boosts the development of trustworthy tech, is also perceived as the right way to go. We are already working hard on making sure these opportunities become available across all Member States.” 


Main findings

·   On sustainability

Almost 8 in 10 respondents think that manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair digital devices, with 64% wanting to keep using their current devices for at least 5 years, and 85% willing to recycle their old ones.

Furthermore, almost 3 in 10 respondents say that information on the energy consumption of online services, such as the carbon footprint created by using video or music streaming platforms, would influence their use of such services.

·   On data sharing and digital identification

Overall, 59% of respondents would be willing to share some of their personal information securely to improve public services. In particular, most respondents are willing to share their data to improve medical research and care (42%), to improve the response to crisis (31%) or to improve public transport and reduce air pollution (26%).

An overwhelming majority of respondents who use their social media accounts to log in to other online services (74%) want to know how their data is used. A large majority would consider it useful to have a secure single digital ID that could serve for all online services and give them control over the use of their data.

·   On disinformation

71% of respondents say that they encounter fake news several times a month or more often. At least two thirds say they come across fake news at least once a week in Malta (73%), France and Spain (both 66%). Most respondents also believe that media should be responsible for combating disinformation, followed by public authorities and social media platforms.

·   On Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In addition to the Special Eurobarometer report, the last iteration of the Standard Eurobarometer conducted in November 2019 also tested public perceptions related to Artificial Intelligence. The findings also published in a separate report today.

Around half of the respondents (51%) said that public policy intervention is needed to ensure ethical applications. Half of the respondents (50%) mention the healthcare sector as the area where AI could be most beneficial. A strong majority (80%) of the respondents think that they should be informed when a digital service or mobile application uses AI in various situations.



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