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New Report Highlights Our Personal Data Concerns

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New Report Highlights Our Personal Data Concerns

Research shows that people want greater transparency and control over their personal data, as well as stronger commitments from both government and industry to protect their privacy.

· Big Data Zone ·
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With the Cambridge Analytics/Facebook scandal, loss of privacy and individual rights have been thrust back into the public consciousness. This growing appreciation for our personal information was reflected in a recent study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which revealed that people want greater transparency and control over their personal data, as well as stronger commitments from both government and industry to protect their privacy.

The study found that 92% of global consumers would like full control over the kind of personal information that gets collected automatically. What's more, 74% of respondents thought that small privacy breaches may ultimately lead to a much larger loss of civil rights.

A number of core concerns emerged among respondents, with the most prevalent concerning the collection and transmission of personal information. This encompasses everything from identity theft to the kind of consumer profiling undertaken by Cambridge Analytics (CA).

More Regulation

In the light of the CA situation, Facebook themselves have admitted that they are likely to be regulated more in the future. It's a road most respondents are urging authorities to go down, with not only tighter rules around the kind of information that is automatically gathered but greater punishments for companies that violate those rules.

It suggests the timing of regulations such as GDPR is ideal, with consumers around the world clamoring for this kind of protection. Far and away the most popular form of "freedom" was the freedom to erase their information when they wanted.

"Consumers have cause for concern, as the ubiquity of interconnected sensors through the IoT adds layers of risk that people can't easily understand. Companies' lack of transparency and the absence of consumer control over data exacerbate perceptions of privacy and security threats. This looks to change, however, as consumers demand stronger safeguards and as the influence of GDPR spreads beyond the EU," the authors say.

It underpins the deterioration in trust many people have in companies to do the right thing, especially if they have to do so voluntarily. The report provides a few recommendations for how companies can rebuild that trust, from collaborating with governments to uphold privacy standards to industry-led commitments to maintain customer privacy.

One thing not mentioned, of course, is to stop screwing up in the first place. Whilst it's likely to require regulation to force their hand, it is nonetheless pleasing to see consumers not only more aware of the data they generate but also their rights surrounding that data. A more informed public can only be a good thing on such an important topic.

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Topics:
personal data ,privacy ,gdpr ,cybersecurity ,big data

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