We are happy to share a guest blog from one of our Digital Day partner organizations, Isabelle Vautravers from Sanitas Health Insurance Foundation, addressing one of the Digital Day themes: My Data

Fitness apps, health trackers, nutrition programs: in recent years, the ways of collecting, evaluating and comparing personal data have virtually exploded. How does this influence our behaviour and what does it mean for social cohesion? A Swiss survey shows astonishing results.

Half the adults in Switzerland track their activities and statuses on smartphones or other portable devices. Two out of three respondents feel this does not go far enough: they would like more data collected automatically – as long as this is not done by a third party. Though 70 percent of respondents use free email and instant messaging services, only 14 percent think it’s okay for their data to be used in exchange for these free services. These results come from a survey of the Swiss population conducted by the Sotomo Research Centre on behalf of the Sanitas Foundation.

Despite the openness towards digital data collection, respondents view critically the social consequences of digitalisation. You can see this through the buzzwords they selected in this context: from the suggested options, the terms they most frequently chose were “control and surveillance”, followed by “loss of individuality”.

Six out of ten respondents believe that the advancing collection of digital data has a negative impact on solidarity in our society. They associate a world of data collecting with control, efficiency and pressure to perform. For them, this puts solidarity and personal responsibility under pressure. Countermeasures should be established to strengthen the community and personal responsibility. Most believe that neither the state nor companies are ultimately responsible for these countermeasures, but that responsibility lies with each individual.

The Sanitas Health Insurance Foundation works on important social issues in the fields of insurance, health and digitalisation. The debate should not only be led by experts, politicians and business representatives, but include the voice of the public. To achieve greater inclusion, the Foundation has initiated a series of surveys in collaboration with the Sotomo Research Centre to ask the Swiss public about digital data collection in their daily activities.