A research study by Veritas Technologies LLC shows that consumers have little trust in organisations to safeguard their personal data.

Companies are increasingly suffering data breaches. Hackers are getting better, identifying easy marks and staying ahead of law enforcement.

The 2018 Veritas Global Data Privacy Consumer Study also shows that consumers intend to take bold steps in penalising companies that don’t safeguard their data while rewarding those that do.

The ‘new norm’ is don’t ask, don’t tell

The study, commissioned by Veritas and conducted by 3GEM, surveyed 12,500 people across 14 countries.

  • 92% are concerned about exposing personal data
  • 40% have no visibility into how their data is used
  • 38% are not comfortable that the company knows how to protect their data

“In light of recent events and changes in the law, consumers need much more reassurance when it comes to what personal data companies hold on them, and how it is shared and used,” Evershed said.

“This could have significant implications for businesses that rely on collecting consumer data to provide intelligent and targeted services, such as location-based apps. The most successful companies will be those that can demonstrate that they are managing and protecting personal data in a compliant way across the board.”

In the event of a data breach

  • 62% will punish by shopping elsewhere
  • 65% will attack the brand reputation
  • 74% would take the matter up with regulators or legally

Conversely

  • 59% will reward organisations that protect their personal data
  • 27% will spend up to 25% more

“Trust in businesses has been eroded by breaches and high-profile cases where firms have shown a lack of understanding of how the consumer data they hold is used or shared,” said Tamzin Evershed, senior director and global privacy lead, Veritas.

“As consumers demand more transparency and accountability from businesses, the ‘new norm’ will see consumers rewarding those organisations that have good data hygiene practices in place. Businesses must be trusted custodians of data if they want to reap the rewards associated with building consumer confidence.”

The other new norm is consumer’s reluctant acceptance that personal data is gold

Consumers don’t realise the amount and extent of data collected. They feel helpless to protect it. Or should they wish to do so, monetise it.

Consumers specifically would not consent to share the following types of personal data

  • 60% personal finance, including income, mortgage, debt
  • 40% location
  • 40% online habits (searches)
  • 38% health/ medical records
  • 28% sexual orientation
  • 26% religious preferences

This is precisely what they do when using so-called free comparison sites handing over things like credit card and bills, utility bills, health records, and more to save money.

All consumers are doing is giving the comparison site their inner secrets so that it can sell them something. It’s a rabbit hole that consumers should not go down.

GadgetGuy’s take. It must be a basic right to know what data is collected and how it is used

In a former life, I attended and reported on Veritas conferences. At its base level, it is a backup and retrieval company. But over the years it has become much more of a data management company.