Internet users in Cyprus were the least likely among their counterparts in the EU 27 member states to change their internet browser settings to prevent or limit cookie use, according to figures published by Eurostat on Tuesday.
The survey, published on the occasion of Safer Internet Day which is celebrated on February 8, showed that only one in ten internet users in Cyprus had taken such action in 2021.
In 2021, 80 per cent of people in the EU aged 16 to 74 who used the internet in the last three months prior to the survey knew that cookies can be used to trace people’s online activities. Awareness was higher (86 per cent) among younger users (aged 16 to 24) and lower (74 per cent) among older users (aged 55 to 74).
Although most people seem to be aware of this situation, only slightly above one third (36 per cent) of users aged 16 to 74 reported that they had changed their internet browser settings to prevent or limit cookie use.
Additionally, only 21 per cent use software that limits the ability to track their activities on the internet (in the three months prior to the survey), a 1-percentage point increase compared with 2020.
When it comes to changing the internet browser settings to prevent or limit cookies, the highest proportion of internet users, as compared with the EU average, was found in Finland (56 per cent), the Netherlands (51 per cent), followed by Germany and Luxembourg (both 46 per cent).
By contrast, a considerably smaller proportion of the internet users had taken such action in Cyprus (11 per cent), Romania (16 per cent) and Bulgaria (21 per cent).
Among the EU Member States, internet users in Belgium were more serious about online tracking, with 51 per cent using software to limit the ability to track activities online. They were followed by users in Malta (32 per cent), the Netherlands (31 per cent), Ireland (28 per cent) and Sweden (27 per cent). By contrast, the lowest shares of users that use this kind of software were in Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia (all 12 per cent).