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Privacy is obviously a hot topic these days with new European data privacy regulations going into effect and Facebook facing questions over its privacy practices. With data privacy concerns already running high, new data from the GDMA and Acxiom [pdf] reveals that consumers believe there’s a strong imbalance in the data economy.

The report asked more than 11,000 people across 10 global markets who they believe currently benefits the most from personal data exchange – businesses or consumers. On average, fully 78% of the respondents feel that businesses benefit more from the exchange of personal data, compared to just 9% who believe that consumers benefit more.

Respondents in Spain (87%) and Germany (85%) are the most apt to feel that businesses benefit most, while those in Singapore (72%) are least likely to share that sentiment. Within the US, three-quarters of respondents see an imbalance weighted towards businesses, compared to 11% feeling the opposite way.

The analysts point out that 18-24-year-olds in the US have an above-average likelihood to believe that the imbalance is tilted in favor of the consumer, though still only 18% feel that way.

How People Feel About Data and Privacy

The GDMA and Acxiom report reveals a number of attitudes towards consumer data and privacy. What follows are some highlights from the findings.

  • Fully 82% of respondents in the US report being concerned about the issue of online privacy these days, the highest level of concern across the 10 countries measured.
  • About half (52%) of US respondents claim to be happy with the amount of personal information they give to organizations these days, the lowest level of the 10 countries.
  • Some 62% of respondents in the US agree that sharing data and personal information online is part of the modern economy, though far fewer (41%) agree that the exchange of personal information is essential for the smooth running of modern society. This suggests a degree of resignation to data sharing, an argument that has been made in previous research.
  • The majority of respondents in all countries except France (40%) agree that they’re more aware of how their data is used and collected than in the past. However, fewer than half in all countries save for Singapore (58%) are more comfortable with the idea of exchanging some personal data with companies than they were previously.
  • Fully 85% of respondents in the US agree that recent headlines about data security breaches have heightened their awareness about their own personal data privacy.
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents on average across the 10 countries agree that their data is their property and they should be able to trade it if they like.
  • The most important factor that would make respondents happy to share their personal information with a company is trust in that organization.

Lack of Control Over Data is A Grievance

The vast majority of respondents in each country would like more control over the personal information they give companies and they way in which it is stored, per the report. That brings to mind recent research from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), in which a majority (53%) of mobile users felt that they lacked control of the way their personal data was used by third parties.

Indeed, in this latest research fully 58% of respondents across the 10 markets said they don’t feel they’re able to prevent companies from sharing their personal information with 3rd parties. Majorities also said they don’t feel in control when it comes to: preventing companies from collecting information about them (56%); being able to compel a company to delete any information they have about them (54%); and ensuring brands use their data for the purpose they initially agreed to (54%).

The full report can be viewed here [pdf].

About the Data: The results are based on a November 2017 survey conducted online by Foresight Factory with a minimum 1,000 sample of respondents ages 18+ in each country.

In total, 11,474 respondents were surveyed, including 2,000 in the US. Respondents were limited to ages 18-64 in Singapore.

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