Tech Literacy Battle: British vs. Americans?

How secure is your data? We asked this and a bunch of other tech literacy questions to British and US internet users and compared their answers.


Stereotypically speaking, British and American smartphone users are quite different.


Sure, there are things they share (like respecting democracy and freedom of speech), but when it comes to football, food, or phrases, it seems the two nations couldn’t be further apart. Do these differences also apply to how they treat data privacy?


Together with OnePoll, we’ve conducted our own study on the nature of tech usage, privacy habits, and cybersecurity awareness of the British vs. the Americans. For our research, we identified four digital activity types to compare their behavioral patterns.


Now, let’s see which of the two is more knowledgeable when it comes to tech literacy and data security.


👏 Let the game begin! Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets now!

Smartphone security awareness

First up is the device we use most often - our smartphones. How secure do you think it is? 


Brits and Americans almost see eye to eye on this issue, with 66% of UK citizens and 64% of their counterparts across the Atlantic concerned about how secure their smartphone is. Spoiler alert: It’s NOT secure unless you put some effort into securing it.


That said, almost half of respondents from both countries still use potentially unsafe features like password autofill: 44% of Brits and 49% of Americans.


☝️The UK team has won the first round.

Password usage habits

Next, let’s look at the way people treat their passwords. Ideally, your passwords should be complex, long, random words. You need to make sure they are not obvious or connected to your personal life. It’s also critical to use different passwords for different accounts. 


If you use the same password for multiple apps or accounts, then you’re just making it easier for cybercriminals to hack into them. And potentially into your friends’ or co-workers’ accounts too.


Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're a hacker) 52.3% of Brits use the same password for apps, devices, and accounts. The only thing that can make them feel better about this statistic is the fact that the number is 62% for Americans.


☝️In the second round, the Brits won again.

Reading privacy terms & conditions

Who in their right mind would read privacy policies from A to Z in a world where time is so valuable? 


Even if you read this information, it can be tricky to understand. And yet, we’ve seen time and time again the value of looking through this information. Those who ignore these privacy policies or terms & conditions only regret it later.


Well, it appears Americans are more concerned about what they agree to when interacting with an app or service. Our research found 50% of them read privacy policies and terms & conditions when signing up to a new app. Brits, on the other hand, are less cautious, with only 15% of them reading these documents. Maybe they’re just confident GDPR will protect them.


☝️The score: Brits - 2, Americans - 1.

Data storage habits

The final round! Will the Brits win or will this be a tie?


Our survey uncovered another interesting finding. When we asked Brits and Americans if they knew how many websites use their smartphones to store personal information, the numbers differed by 27%. Apparently, they have different perceptions of trust. 


On average, Americans believe a device has their personal details stored for 19 websites. British respondents think the number is only 14.


The correct number is, of course, much higher. However, we can still assume US citizens are more aware about who gathers their data, how much, and what kind of data it is.


* * *


Who got the imaginary trophy for cybersecurity awareness? It’s a draw!


We pitted these two nations against each other, but in the end both nations are as knowledgeable about cybersecurity as the other. The reality is we all have the same opportunities and tools to keep ourselves safe in the digital world. 


So, regardless of where we’re from, we should all put our best efforts into keeping our cybersecurity awareness and tech literacy high. And Clario’s blog is an excellent resource to help you do just that.

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