Research suggests that obscure privacy policies are damaging consumer trust
A new study by Deloitte suggests that the majority of British consumers don’t trust businesses to protect their personal information.
A report entitled “Data Nation 2013: Balancing growth and responsibility” found that just 38 percent believe companies will keep their data safe, while only 22 percent are confident their details won’t be sold on to other organisations.
According to Deloitte, generations Y and Z (aged 15 to 34), responsible for the majority of content online, are particularly likely to underestimate the importance of protecting their personal information.
The research also highlights the failure of the ‘cookie law‘ to raise awareness about data collection practices.
Trust no one
“The British public is still not confident in how companies use and handle their personal data. Organisations need to make it easier for individuals to understand why this information is collected and what benefit they will receive. Businesses are more likely to get maximum benefit from data if every customer interaction is based on the principles of transparency, trust and informed dialogue,” commented Harvey Lewis, analytics research director at Deloitte.
The survey seems to suggest that awareness of the value of personal data comes with age. Nearly a third of people aged between 15 and 34 (28 percent) think that companies have little or no information about them, or simply don’t know how the extent of data collection. This number drops to 19 percent for ‘generation X’ (35-44 years old) and 14 percent for ‘baby boomers’ (45-64 years old).
In the current socio-political climate, just ten percent of respondents are happy for organisations to share their data with other companies. They are twice as likely to agree to share data with public sector companies, and three times as likely if they are convinced it is for a good cause, such as medical research.
The survey also highlighted the failure of the ‘cookie law’ to increase awareness of data collection practices. The updated Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation was introduced in 2012 to protect Internet users from intrusive tracking and marketing material, but has been widely criticised as confusing and inefficient.
Deloitte’s research suggests the majority (57 percent) of UK’s Internet users usually ignore notices about cookies, or have not seen them at all. Just four percent say they know a great deal about the cookie law.
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