GDPR: Consumer awareness lagging as firms get ready

David Reed, director of research and editor-in-chief, DataIQ

Just one in ten consumers say they are very aware of a new data protection law which grants them new rights, despite GDPR being passed last year and with only 14 months to go until it gets enforced. Consumer research carried out for DataIQ by Research Now showed that, out of 1,001 responses, only 10% were completely confident in their knowledge.

DataIQ GDPR consumer awarenessEducation about GDPR has yet to begin - and there is still no clear view as to who will take the lead on this, industry or the regulator - which may explain why four in ten (38%) said they are not aware at all that the law is changing. When combined with the 24% who are only slightly aware, this means six out of ten consumers (62%) will enter the new era of data protection with a limited or no understanding of what they can do to access, manage or remove their personal information.

The implications of this low level of awareness will come under sharp focus at the third DataIQ GDPR Impact event on 30th March, held in association with DBS Data, where the emphasis is on consent. If organisations are not able to demonstrate a clear legitimate interest for needing personal data to deliver a service, they will have to win consent. That will prove difficult if consumers find themselves presented with privacy notices and options that they do not understand.

Better news about the introduction of GDPR can be found in the commercial sector where half of firms (50%) now declare themselves very aware of the Regulation, a rise of 4% since last year, while a further 36.3% say they are somewhat aware (up 3.3%). That leaves only a rump of 4.7 per cent who describe themselves as barely or not at all aware of the new law, with the remainder neutral. The findings are the results of a survey among DataIQ’s community as well as a panel of marketing decision-makers operated by Research Now, which generated a total of 220 responses this year.

Given the complexity of the law and the breadth of processes which will need to be review for compliance, this high level of informed awareness is important. It is also reassuring as a reflection that organisations intend to meet their obligations and deliver the new consumer rights outlined.

DataIQ GDPR Business AwarenessWhen it comes to converting awareness into preparedness, the last 12 months have seen a doubling in the number of companies who say they are very ready, rising to 14.6% from 7% in 2016. Those who are somewhat ready have grown to 53.3%, up from 48%, meaning that seven out of ten organisations are gearing up for next year. Even better, the proportion who have done very little or nothing at all has shrunk to 17% from 25% last year. That means the risks to consumer  data from poor and non-compliant processes are reducing rapidly and likely to decrease further as momentum around GDPR programmes increases.

Knowledge and strategy director, DataIQ
David is developing the framework for soft skills and career development among data and analytics practitioners. He continues to be editor-in-chief and research director for DataIQ.