US consumers believe technological advancements pose a risk to their data privacy; believe it is the responsibility of organisations to make the purpose of data use clear and say organisations that fail to protect peoples data should face immediate penalties from regulators. ˜Privitar Privacy Pulse, an inaugural study published today, has researched the views of thousands of consumers and businesses across the UK, France and the US, shining a light on widespread concerns on the march of the digital revolution.
The research found that the majority of US consumers not only have a punitive mindset when it comes to data breaches but are also prepared to take decisive action where organisations mishandle data, stating that they would stop using a brand if they did not protect their data.
Jason du Preez, CEO of Privitar, commented:
What were seeing is a real backlash against the data revolution. Our extensive study has shown that most consumers in the UK, US and France have real fears around the use of their data and will stop engaging with organisations they do not trust. The research also points to a lack of privacy literacy amongst consumers, leading to a breakdown of communication and trust.
In the US, the research shows a contradiction between the fears of consumers and the confidence of business. More pronounced than British and French consumers, 70% of US consumers are concerned about the ways companies are using their data. This contrasts starkly with the views of US business, which are more confident than their counterparts in the UK and France. While 68% of French upper level management feel the risks associated with using company data outweigh the potential benefits, only 38% of their US equivalents agree. Similarly, 79% of French businesses say preventing data breaches is a top priority for the next year, whereas only 66% of US businesses agree.
du Preez added:
While we see universal privacy concerns across the UK, US and France, there are clear points of difference. US consumers are distinctly more concerned about how companies use their data. However, US businesses are more comfortable with privacy risk and it is less of a priority compared with French and British businesses. Apple may have made privacy a key selling point of its products but many US organisations are not as progressed. Given public sentiment and, of course, the high profile Cambridge Analytica scandal, it is no surprise that regulatory moves are being made in the US.
Headline research findings:
- 90% believe technological advancements pose a risk to their data privacy (US: 92% / France: 90% / UK: 89%)
- 77% believe it is the responsibility of organisations to make the purpose of data use clear (UK: 81% / US: 76% / France: 73%)
- 23% believe it is their own responsibility to manage their data privacy (UK: 19% / US: 24% / France: 27%)
- 68% would stop using a brand if they did not protect their data (UK: 73% / US: 68% / France: 65%)
- 79% say organisations that fail to protect peoples data should face immediate penalties from regulators (UK: 83% / US: 78% / France: 76%)
- 74% say preventing data breaches is a top priority for the business in the next year (France: 79% / UK: 75% / US: 66%)
- 74% recognise risking the loss of customer trust and reputation damage if they fail to protect their customers data (France: 78% / UK: 76% / US: 69%)
- 72% say they need more support in protecting their customers data (France 77% / UK: 72% / US: 67%)
- 57% of senior executives say that risks associated with using company data are not worth the potential benefits to the organisation (France: 64% / UK: 57% / US: 53%)
- 46% say organisations that fail to protect peoples data should face immediate penalties from regulators (US: 50% / UK: 45% / France: 42%)
The research also shines a light on the lack of understanding of technology and data privacy protection. Most worrying is the lack of awareness of the big data revolution prizes such as tackling climate change and improving healthcare.
The big social opportunity
- 33% of consumers are aware their data is used to create innovative solutions to tackle climate change (UK: 32% / France: 33% / US: 34%)
- 41% of consumers are aware their data is used to find cures for common preventable diseases (France: 36% / UK: 42% / US: 45%)
du Preez went on to say:
Policy-makers, data scientists and businesses should heed the inherent warning of this research. Around the world, data scientists are working to improve healthcare outcomes “ be they curative or improving services “ and working on the transition from carbon to clean energy. Our research shows neither the purpose, nor the existence, of this work is well understood by the population at large. Consumers, who feel ill-informed and have legitimate privacy fears, are prepared to withdraw data use consent. The data revolution amounts to nothing without the trust and support of consumers.
There are important education and communications battles to be won. It is vital that the public feels knowledgeable and onside. We know that this is possible when we compare the so-called digital natives (18-34 year olds) against the over 55s. Younger generations, who feel more comfortable managing their privacy and understand how their data is used, have not only grown up with technology but have many have experienced focussed education in schools. Education and communication will be crucial for public sector organisations and businesses engaging with the older generation, in particular, who feel most fearful of a data-led world.
Data science needs to inspire, reassure and explain clearly its purpose to engage individuals and support innovation.
Notes to editors
Privitar Privacy Pulse methodology:
Privitar commissioned Edelman Intelligence to survey 2000 consumers the UK and US and 1000 consumers in France (total 5000 respondents). The respondents were aged over 18 and representative of gender, age region and income. Edelman Intelligence also surveyed 500 business respondents in each of the three markets (total 1,500 respondents). The respondents all have an influence in decisions about their organisations data management, from departments such as IT, data analytics, data management and security. The respondents also reflected a spread across 6 industry sectors: banking and financial services, telecoms, healthcare, civil and social services and local government, retail and utilities.
The headline findings are available as a separate infographic.
A full report with updated findings will be presented at Privitars annual privacy community event “ In:Confidence “ in Spring 2019. Updated findings will be published annually.
Privitar provides data-privacy software to companies and public sector organisations around the world to protect sensitive data and enable ethical data analysis. Privitar’s software accelerates and automates the provision of privacy-preserving data, helping customers extract more business value from their data, generate data-driven insights, and drive innovation.
Privitar was established in 2014 with headquarters in London and offices in New York and Paris. The company raised $16m in a Series A funding round in July 2017, with support from existing investors IQ Capital, 24Haymarket and Illuminate Financial and new funding from Partech Ventures, CME Ventures and Salesforce Ventures.
Privitar hosts an annual community event – In:Confidence – with luminary privacy experts and commentators and contributes regularly to the public discourse on privacy matters. You can read and subscribe to the latest news and opinions from Privitar here.
Sorrelle Harper, Privitar
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