Editor’s note Yoshi Yonekawa is director of the business planning division at marketing research firm Rakuten AIP, New York. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Consumer perception of data privacy in Asia.

Cyber security and data privacy protection are making headlines around the globe, especially after the recent worldwide cyber-attack by ransomware WannaCry. Companies are scrambling to strengthen security measures, while governments are moving to increase data protection of its citizens (e.g., new data privacy protection laws planned in Japan and EU).

But what do consumers think about all of this? My team asked consumers in Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam about their opinions of what they perceive as sensitive info, how secure they feel about means of communication and their perception of how much control they feel they have over their own personal information.

Across the surveyed Asian countries, credit card numbers rose to the top as the most sensitive personal information. This isn’t too surprising given that it’s directly tied to your personal finances and we often hear stories about credit card data breaches.

While government-issued ID numbers were also a common piece of sensitive info, countries in Southeast Asia notably picked communication contents as being highly sensitive (e.g., contents of phone conversations, e-mail and chat/text). Japan on the other hand places home address right behind credit cards, with communication concerns mainly centered around e-mails.

Landline was viewed as most secure means of communication in Japan, while mobile and e-mail were on par in Southeast Asia.

Among various methods of communication, landline phones are top-of-mind in Japan for being most secure. In Southeast Asia however, mobile phones and texts, as well as e-mails are seen as equally secure – Thailand actually places t...