Consumers rush to embrace new data rights under GDPR

DataIQ News

Over half of all UK consumers will have activated their new personal data rights under GDPR within 12 months of the regulation coming into force, with nearly a third (31%) having already done so.

That is according to the results of a tracking study carried out by SAS, entitled "GDPR: The right to remain private", which shows that more people are activating their new personal data rights, and faster, than expected.

At the same time, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal has made the majority of consumers either activate their rights, or at least reassess the information they share and how organisations use it.

In 2017, SAS surveyed UK consumers for their views on the regulation, revealing that 42% planned to exercise their rights within a year of GDPR coming into force. However, 31% have already activated their rights over personal data, and 55% will have done so within a year.

UK consumers have been greatly influenced by recent events, including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Apart from the 12% who must have been living on the Moon and are completely unaware of the story, only a quarter said it had not changed their views on data privacy.

The vast majority (88%) were aware of the scandal and, of those, 72% said it had caused them to either retract data permissions, plan to share less data or review how companies use their personal information.

British consumers treat data sharing as a matter of trust and have a low tolerance for data mistakes or misuse, such as having their data shared with third parties without their consent. Almost half (45%) would activate their data rights after only one mistake.

However, the research shows that companies can win customers back through respecting data privacy and consent. Customers are most trusting of organisations that promise they will not share data with third parties (39%) or will not misuse their data (36%).

Not all sectors have been evenly affected by GDPR. In particular, social media companies and retailers will struggle to manage the number of incoming data requests from customers, SAS claims. These companies are also the most likely to have their customer data erased or withdrawn from marketing purposes.

SAS UK and Ireland head of GDPR technology David Smith reckons organisations only have one chance to get GDPR right. He added: "UK customers are embracing their new data rights faster than expected, making now a dangerous time for companies scrambling to achieve GDPR parity.

"Businesses which fail to respect their customers or their data risk losing both, sacrificing their competitive advantage and hurting the bottom line. Transparent data management and analytics are crucial, not only to achieve compliance but to provide personalised customer experiences that make consumers more willing to share their data."