Consumers still in the dark over data privacy rights

DataIQ News

With the Information Commissioner's Office poised to launch a major consumer campaign, new research suggests it cannot come soon enough after revealing widespread ignorance among the public over how much personal data they have already shared online - and the steps they can take to erase it.

Exact details of the ICO campaign are still not available, although the regulator says it has enlisted the help of a number of organisations, including Comic Relief, RBS, the BBC and Sainsbury’s. It will also feature the strapline “Your Data Matters”.

But the survey into consumer attitudes to digital identity, conducted by ComRes Global on behalf of ForgeRock, shows that the majority (57%) of British consumers are concerned about how much personal information they have already shared online.

Even so, many still underestimate how much personal data is available about them. For example, while 77% of adults said that they use the Internet to access products and services and make purchases, only 39% believe they have shared their debit or credit card details online.

And although consumers are concerned about how their data is managed and shared, just a third (34%) know how to remove personal data they have shared, while two thirds (63%) say they know little or nothing about their rights.

ForgeRock vice-president of innovation and emerging technology Eve Maler said: “Given a choice, the majority would prefer to share less. This should be a concern for businesses, since many brands rely on data from consumers to drive revenues and inform business decisions. Organisations need to take notice of these concerns and focus on building trust and brand loyalty by giving consumers greater visibility and control over how their data is being collected, managed and shared.

"Our research shows there is a real need for more education among British consumers about how personal data is managed and shared online.

"Industry and government need to come together to raise awareness around how consumer data is used and the rights and protections that are in place. Failure to do so will ultimately result in consumers losing trust in the brands they deal with online, damaging both revenues and reputations."