Attitudes to data sharing vary across Europen says survey

Toni Sekinah, research analyst and features editor, DataIQ

Two consumer surveys carried out on behalf of the Open Data Institute show that attitudes to sharing data vary widely across Europe. The surveys conducted by YouGov, one carried out in the UK in November 2017 and the second collecting the views of consumers from France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in April 2018, revealed large disparities in views regarding what data people felt comfortable with sharing.

In the UK, 57% of respondents felt confident sharing data with banks, building societies and credit card companies but that percentage is much lower on the other side of the English Channel where 31% feel confident doing so. In the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the percentage of people happy to share their data with banks is 50%, 34%, 48% respectively. Both British and French consumers feel far less comfortable sharing data with insurance providers than with banks as only 32% and 27% respectively feel confident to do so. This reluctance to share data could dampen efforts to introduce telematics to the vehicle insurance industry.

There is also a large difference in the percentage of people willing to share data with healthcare providers. In Britain 64% of people are happy to do so, but the percentage is just 35% in France. The country where there is highest trust of healthcare providers is the Netherlands, where 71% of would be willing to share their data.

Worryingly for marketers, the least trusted organisations were marketing and advertising agencies with only 2% of people from the UK and the same percentage from France trusting them with their data. Offline retailers fared slightly better than marketers and advertisers with 8% in France and 10% in the UK responding that they trusted them.

Online trust handshake through laptopCuriously, online retailers command higher levels of trust than their bricks and mortar competitors with 11% of French consumers and 22% of British consumers trusting them with their data.

The survey results show that social media platforms are also viewed with scepticism, with only 10% of British people and 5% of French people willing to share data with them. It should be noted that March 17th was the date Cambridge Analytica was found to have severaly misused the data of Facebook users. The continental consumers were surveyed between 14th March and April 3rd. The levels of trust are much lower than in the UK. Just 8% of consumersin Belgium and the Netherlands, 5% in France and 3% in Germany would trust social media sites with their data.

The results of the survey also showed that the biggest factor in the decision of whether to share data or not, was trust in the organisation asking for it. In the UK, 94% said trust is an important factor, a figure that fell to 87% in France.

Dr Jeni Tennison, CEO of the Open Data Institute, said: “Trust in organisations remains a key issue across the EU, but it is good to know that many people are thinking actively about data when deciding which type of data they are comfortable sharing, and which organisations they are happy to share information about themselves with.”

The release of the survey results coincided with the UK-France Digital Colloque, a summit of data leaders from both countries.