Online piracy and fraud in France - statistics & facts

While accessing the Internet is more important than ever, illicit modes of digital consumption have multiplied among the French population. With almost 12 million French internet users illegally downloading and streaming videos in December 2019, French companies faced average annual cyber-crime costs of more than 9 million U.S. dollars. A year earlier, the estimated notification cost of data breaches (which included the creation of databases, compliance costs, as well as consultancy fees) was about 80 thousand U.S. dollars, for all industries.

As activity tracking can be dodged or masked, internet users might be less concerned about the consequences through the perceived anonymity of the internet. In 2019, in terms of gender, 53 percent of men reported to be reckless, which was about 6 percent more than women. When looking at age distribution, people aged 25 to 39 who regularly consumed illegal content. Of course, some would be more inclined to sin if certain content was not easily available, leading to occasional wrongful streaming activity (which was more recurrent compared to regular illegal consumption). Many internet users are still willing to pay to access digital content.

A number of crimes against individuals was reported in 2018. Online fraud was the most prevalent type, followed by identity theft. Data loss was mainly taking place through viruses, hacking, breakdowns or hardware theft. The fear of having personal data leaked was very present among young people aged 11 to 20, but other cyber crimes such as being harassed were seen as a more serious offence.

Among the information people chose to give away on the web, banking data might be particularly sought-after by criminals. The segments most affected by cyber attacks in 2018 were services to individuals and businesses, as well as online shopping. That same year, the total value of payment card fraud reached almost 440 million euros. Other activities included the use of personal data for commercial purposes. Also in 2018, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that Facebook did not fully protect the personal data of its members, generating outrage amongst French people, of whom around 30 percent were ready to delete their account. Since then, many have reported regularly checking the privacy policy on social networks.

As online users already have a sense of personal responsibility to protect private data, other actors such as public authorities, the government, and internet providers are also made responsible for online security. In 2019, according to the French population, implementing dissuasive fines could be a solution against new scandals regarding personal data abuse and with the implementation of the General Regulations for the Protection of Personal Data (GDPR), the goal for internet surfers was to feel safer. However, a year after the GDPR was enforced, almost half of French people still said they had never heard of it.

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Online piracy and fraud against individuals in France

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Internet piracy

Cyber attacks

Payment fraud

Data protection measures

Trust in companies and public authorities


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