'Digital amnesia' and the emotional cost of data loss

Losing your precious data – whether it’s treasured photos, vital business files or personal documents – is not only an inconvenience, but can leave many people emotionally distressed.

The Kaspersky Lab undertook a study into ‘digital amnesia’ on consumers over the age of 16, and they found that 71% can’t recall their children’s phone number without checking a device, and 57% can’t recall their partner’s. With people relying on technology more and more, they have started to hand over the responsibility of remembering things to their devices.

40% of those surveyed aged 16-24 claimed they would be devastated if they lost all the data on their personal digital devices, particularly their smartphones, with 38% saying they would panic in the case of a data loss or breach.

The results of the study indicated that our growing dependency on smart devices like smartphones and tablets is linked with the huge emotional impact of losing data stored on them. Despite this, Kaspersky found that only 27% of the users had installed extra IT security on their devices.

Kaspersky Lab Principal Security Researcher David Emm said: "Connected devices enrich our lives but they have also given rise to Digital Amnesia.

"We need to understand the long term implications of this for how we remember and how we protect those memories.

"Further, an overwhelming 86% of those surveyed say that in our increasingly hyper-connected world people simply have too many numbers, addresses, handles etc. for them to remember even if they wanted to.

"We discovered that the loss or compromise of this precious information would not just be an inconvenience, it would leave many people deeply distressed."