Data sharing

Data sharing still daunting for customers despite GDPR


Work to comply with GDPR has failed to translate into greater consumer confidence when it comes to sharing personal data with companies. 

18th Oct 2019

Despite the implementation of strict new regulations around the collection, use and storage of customer data, most consumers still remain concerned about sharing their personal data with brands, new research has revealed.

According to a study undertaken by ESOMAR , an international membership organisation for the research profession, and mapping and location data and services provider Here Technologies, a huge three-quarters of UK citizens would be prepared to share their data if they knew it was stored safely and securely.

The same was true if the brand concerned made it clear why their personal information was required and what would be done with it. A further 72% of UK consumers also said they would be open to sharing if they considered the data collector in question to be trustworthy and reputable.

However, according to a survey from Ogury, which provides mobile journey marketing services, half (52%) of consumers around the world today simply do not understand how their personal information is being employed, even after reading consent forms and privacy policies. To make matters worse given the amount of compliance work that was required, as few as 8% of consumers feel they comprehend such issues any better since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.

Overall, GDPR seems to have done little to reassure UK consumers that sharing personal data is a safe thing to do. In fact, the ESOMAR  and Here Technologies’ research indicated that 74% of respondents in the country have concerns about sharing such information, with fewer than one in 10 feeling confident about the prospect and a third feeling vulnerable and stressed if they have to do so.

Why are consumers so wary about data sharing?

A key issue is that, while a vast 86% accept it is their responsibility to be aware of with whom they are sharing their personal data, three out of four do not know where to go to find information about how best to protect their privacy. Moreover, while just under nine out of 10 felt that the existence of government legislation was essential to protect against personal data misuse, only 28% felt that current regulations were up to the job.

To highlight this parlous situation, Finn Raben, ESOMAR ’s director general, also pointed to the fact that almost two-thirds of UK citizens had either had their emails or bank accounts hacked, or their personal details leaked. This meant people were “understandably wary” about sharing such data.

But such an already difficult situation was also not being helped by a “string of reports” over the last 12 months of brands listening to, and gathering, personal data “with almost zero transparency”, he said.

“It is possible to collect the data that businesses need to provide and improve offers and services, while at the same time respecting the consumer through ethical and transparent data practices,” Raben stated. “Not only can brands collect data, but they can improve trust and potentially boost revenue through transparency.”

Indeed, more than a third of those questioned in the survey said they would be more likely to buy products and services, or use mobile apps, from companies they felt they could trust to handle their personal data in an appropriate fashion.

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