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Two-Thirds of UK Consumers Worry Brands Put Private Data at Risk

As many as two-thirds of UK consumers are concerned about how brands use their personal information, according to new research from customer identity management company Gigya.

In its 2017 State of Consumer Privacy and Trust survey, the firm polled 4000 adults in the UK and US and found that consumers worry about the well-being of data such email, location and marital status, with 66% concerned about the impact the latest IoT gadgets could have on the security of their information.

Further, more UK respondents think brands’ privacy policies have become weaker (32%) in the face of escalating cybersecurity attacks, and tougher regulation, rather than stronger (26%).

“I'm not surprised that more people are concerned with their privacy and how brands use their personal information,” Dr Jessica Barker, independent cybersecurity consultant, told Infosecurity. “As more and more breaches hit the headlines, and as more people receive unwanted marketing, spam and phishing emails, people have started to become more concerned with how organizations are handling their data.”

Gigya’s findings will be a concern for brands that rely on customer insight to tailor their services and they face the challenge of restoring consumer confidence ahead of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which will enforce an opt-in/opt-out policy for shoppers.

“Marketers are about to experience a seismic shift in the way they collect and manage data,” said Richard Lack, managing director of EMEA at Gigya. “GDPR, which is just a little more than a year away, will keep brands honest by forcing an ‘opt-in’ policy on consumer data for the first time and radically changing the way that personally identifiable information is defined.

“They [retailers and marketers] must put GDPR compliant systems in place to prevent a mass consumer ‘opt-out’ when the new regulations are enforced.”

Interestingly, the survey also discovered that UK respondents doubt their data privacy will improve under Theresa May’s government, in fact, a higher percentage (18%) believe it will be less secure, than think it will be more secure (17%).

“It is important brands don’t think they’re off the hook just because the public increasingly recognizes its own role in keeping data private and secure,” added Lack. “Yes, as consumers, we must be aware of the risks, and take precautions, but as technology evolves, and regulation tightens, brands must take the issues of data security firmly in hand, understanding the value of trusted relationships.” 

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