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GDPR: Consumers keen to opt out of marketing - but how many are aware of it?

13th Jul 2017
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The impending enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coincides with a time when consumers are more concerned about privacy than ever before.

And new research indicates that those aware of the new regulation are keen to exercise their new data rights when it comes into effect in May 2018.

Designed to harmonise consumer rights across Europe, the GDPR outlines a set of rules that will put consumers in control of their own data, and strengthen their rights around how data is collected.

This includes providing consumers with the right to request the data being held about them, the right to opt-out of automated profiling and the right to opt-out of marketing altogether. As part of this, companies are obligated to ensure that it is as easy to withdraw marketing consent as it is to give it.

And in a new poll of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by SAS, a third of respondents (33%) have said that they will exercise their right to ask retailers to stop using their data for marketing purposes when the GDPR comes into force.

Elsewhere, nearly a quarter (24%) said they will access the data that retail companies hold about them, and 17% said they will challenge automated decisions made by retailers.

But it is the social media companies that could potentially be impacted the most by the GDPR, with the research suggesting that 39% will request for their personal data to be removed from them. 

GDPR poll

The poll also revealed which rights UK adults would welcome most from the GDPR:

  • 64% welcomed ‘the right to access’ (e.g. get a copy of personal data held about them).
  • 62% welcomed ‘the right to erasure’ (e.g. erase personal data from certain systems).
  • 59% welcomed ‘the right to rectification’ (e.g. if personal data is inaccurate or incomplete).
  • 56% welcomed ‘the right to object’ (e.g. using data for marketing and profiling).
  • 54% welcomed ‘the right to restrict processing’ (e.g. if they contest accuracy of data).
  • 43% welcomed ‘rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling’ (e.g. the right to seek human intervention following an automated decision they disagree with).
  • 38% welcomed ‘the right to data portability’ (e.g. obtaining and re-using data).

Despite the survey findings, the impact may be considerably less than this research suggests, however. While those questioned for the report were aware of the GDPR, public awareness of the regulation on the whole remains fairly low – with the Netskope Cloud Report suggesting that six in 10 (62.9%) have never even heard of it.

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