Germans concerned over data security in wake of mass hack | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 10.01.2019

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Germans concerned over data security in wake of mass hack

Germans are worried about the safety of their personal information, according to a new poll. The news comes on the heels of a major hack targeting prominent politicians and media figures in the country.

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Germans mostly optimistic about what 2019 holds in store

When it comes to data, things could be safer. That's according to the new Deutschlandtrend survey carried out by German public broadcaster ARD published on Friday.

Roughly two-thirds of respondents over the age of 35 say they are concerned that personal information they have online will be misused. Only those between the ages of 18 and 34 (49 percent) felt differently.

Read more: Top 10 mistakes that make life easy for cyber-criminals

Germany was rocked last week by news of a mass hack in which roughly 1,000 leading politicians and media figures had their private information, including photos and messages, leaked online.

Deutschlandtrend data misuse graphic EN

The majority of Germans remain generally skeptical of providing personal data to online services. Some 60 percent say they offer up as little information as possible when doing so.

Political climate stays consistent

On the political side, much of the frustration that brought 2018 to a close carried on into 2019. Just 34 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with the current government. Upon closer inspection, the figure generally breaks down along party lines. Fifty-six percent of conservatives and 51 percent of center-left Social Democrats (SPD) — the two parties that make up the current government coalition — say they are satisfied, while just 5 percent of far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) supporters share that opinion, for example.

Deutschlandtrend satisfaction government graphic EN

When asked which party respondents would vote for if a national election were held on Sunday, the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), along with their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), topped the list at 29 percent — down one point from last month's survey. The second-place Greens remained consistent at 20 percent and the SPD gained a point to 15 percent. The AfD remained unchanged with 14 percent support, while the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and Left party each gained a point at 9 percent.

Read more: 2018: The year Trumpian disruption rocked German politics

On the individual level, embattled conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel still remains Germany's most popular politician with an approval rating of 56 percent — one point less than last month. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Merkel's recently-named replacement as leader of the CDU, saw a huge surge in popularity. She finished second on the list at 46 percent, which is an 11 point spike since March of 2018.

Financially strong, accepting change

When it comes to money, 78 percent of Germans said they were feeling "good" or "very good" about their personal economic circumstances. When the results were broken down by party, more than 80 percent of Greens, FDP, SPD and CDU/CSU supporters agreed. Only supporters of the AfD (69 percent) and Left party (59 percent) were slightly less enthusiastic.

Economic graphic

Despite ongoing public debates in Germany over heated topics such as migration, climate change and the future of the European Union, a slim majority (51 percent) in the country say things actually aren't changing too fast. When those results are examined on a party basis, however, the disparity is clear. A whopping 86 percent of AfD supporters disagree, as do 69 percent of people who claim to hold no party affiliation. For the other five parties currently in Germany's parliament, that figure is less than 50 percent.

Germany changing graphic

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