Australian consumers are becoming more aware of data practices and privacy issues. They are also becoming less tolerant of poor or insecure practices. That’s according to new local and global research released this week.

According to research from ADMA (Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising) and GDMA (Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations) 60 per cent of Australians are more aware than ever of how their data is collected and used. 

And they are not particularly happy with the current exchange.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of Australians think that businesses generally benefit the most from data sharing, while just one in 10 consumers think they get a better deal as a result of data sharing. The findings come from the report Data Privacy, What the consumer really think.

Just a quarter said they are willing to support a system of businesses sharing customers personal information in exchange for improved products and services. However, 59 per cent say they agree data sharing online is “part of the modern economy”.

It’s tough to blame skeptical consumers after a year which has seen a raft of scandals involving personal data. 2018 has, so far, uncovered Cambridge Analytica harvesting Facebook user data for political gain, the Commonwealth Bank losing data from 20 million customer accounts, and personal data of Family Planning NSW clients being held to ransom by hackers, to name a few.

According to the ADMA research, “Consumers currently do not strongly trust organisations with their personal information, with digital businesses trusted the least.” Social media, messaging apps and streaming services were the least trusted organisations in regard to personal information. 

Source: Data Privacy: What the consumer really thinks

Consumer data trust may be damaged further as these incidents become harder to cover up with the introduction of the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme in Australia. A new regulatory measure which has led to a spike in the reporting of data breaches.

Failure to safeguard personal information is quickly punished, according to global research from Veritas Technologies. Its latest research claims “consumers have little trust in organisations to safeguard their personal data”.

A global challenge

According to the 2018 Veritas Global Data Privacy Consumer Study, 37 per cent of consumers think businesses don’t know how to protect their personal data. And when consumers confirm their suspicions they are quick to leave, according to the report.

Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) say they would stop buying from a business that failed to safeguard their information, while eight in ten (82 per cent) say they would tell their friends and family to boycott the organisation, according to the Veritas research.

Over three quarters (76 per cent) say they would report poor practice to regulators.

Trust and transparency needed

According to the ADMA report, trust and transparency are “the most important factors for a healthy data exchange landscape”. The research revealed trust in an organisation is the primary reason consumers are comfortable sharing their personal information.

“In light of the findings, organisations need to invest further in strategies to ensure trust and transparency are front and centre,” said acting ADMA CEO, Steve Sinha, in the report.

“Furthermore, we need to do more to ensure we clarify the value exchange with customers to address the perception that businesses benefit most.”

“Ultimately, trust, transparency and choice are the key focus areas for companies and those delivering these attributes will be the businesses that succeed into the future.”

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