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15 per cent intend to activate new rights in May 2018 as the law is ratified

Nearly half (48 per cent) of UK adults plan to activate new rights over their personal data, according to a poll* of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by SAS. The poll explores the nation’s sentiment towards upcoming legislative change that empowers consumers with new rights over how their personal data is handled by organisations. Fifteen per cent of adults polled even expressed their intention to activate their new rights in the same month that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018.

The 45- to 54-year-old age group is most likely to issue a request, with just over one in five (21 per cent) thinking they will active their new rights in the first month. The propensity to submit a request drops to 13 per cent in the 18- to 24-year-old age category.There are regional variations, with adults in the North East and South East more inclined to submit a request within the first month (18 per cent). This drops to 12 per cent in Wales, 11 per cent in the East of England and just 7 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The poll revealed which rights UK adults would welcome most:

  • 64 per cent welcomed ‘the right to access’ (e.g. get a copy of personal data held about them)
  • 62 per cent welcomed ‘the right to erasure’ (e.g. erase personal data from certain systems)
  • 59 per cent welcomed ‘the right to rectification’ (e.g. if personal data is inaccurate or incomplete)
  • 56 per cent welcomed ‘the right to object’ (e.g. using data for marketing and profiling)
  • 54 per cent welcomed ‘the right to restrict processing’ (e.g. if they contest accuracy of data)
  • 43 per cent 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 per cent welcomed ‘the right to data portability’ (e.g. obtaining and re-using data)

Compliance with the new data rights, which promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals, is said to be proving challenging for organisations. Gartner recently warned that by the end of 2018 at least 50 per cent of companies will not be in full compliance with the regulations.  The consumer poll explored which organisations would receive a request to remove or provide access to consumer data with social media companies, retailers, insurers and supermarkets ranking top of the list.

Percentage of consumers who will request for personal data to be removed Percentage of consumers who will request access to personal data
Social media companies 39% 26%
Retailers 33% 24%
Insurance 33% 29%
Supermarkets 30% 23%
Political parties and organisations 30% 21%
Energy suppliers 27% 27%
Banks 21% 32%
Employers/previous employers 21% 22%

“Finding customer zero is a huge challenge for some organisations. Personal data is often stored in thousands of databases and organisations will need to find, evaluate and categorise every piece of data relating to each customer to ensure compliance,” said Charles Senabulya, Vice President and Country Manager for SAS UK & Ireland. “Overcoming this challenge presents an opportunity for organisations as they form a new type of relationship with their customers that is bound by integrity, understanding and respect for their individual choices. We are entering a new data era that requires a firm grip of customer data. One that rewards consumers as well as protects their right to privacy.”

The poll also asked consumers what information they were prepared to share with their favourite brands or organisations, so they could benefit from improved or tailored services. It revealed that only a minority would voluntarily share what their friends and relatives like or dislike (five per cent), details on their social media activity (six per cent), information on their feelings or emotions (seven per cent) or insight into their credit rating (eight per cent), political preferences (eight per cent) and opinions on societal issues (nine per cent). In contrast:

  • 41 per cent would share basic demographics (e.g. age, gender, social economic group)
  • 24 per cent would share personal contact details (e.g. postcode, mobile number)
  • 24 per cent would share partner status (e.g. married, single, widowed)
  • 22 per cent would share shopping habits (e.g. store preference, shopping days)
  • 19 per cent would share lifestyle and culture (e.g. interests, shopping habits, holidays)
  • 17 per cent would share sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability
  • 16 per cent would share their favourite brands
  • 14 per cent would share media preference (e.g. type of newspapers/publications)

The younger you are, the more willing you are to share your personal information. The poll revealed that the percentage of people willing to share information in each age category generally decreased with age. This suggests a shift in attitudes towards personal data among a new generation of consumers.

* The survey of 2,000 UK consumers was conducted by OnePoll, between 24 and 26 May 2017.

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