Consumers want to know more about how their data is used


The world is ever more reliant on data, but consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about where their personal details are stored and who has access to them.

Professional technology standards body IEEE has carried out a survey of 1,000 UK adults which finds that 81 percent believe the public should be better educated on how their data is being used online.

In addition more than half of respondents would like to see clarity from individual websites on their specific use of personal data. Worryingly for online companies, 65 percent are able to cite a negative experience as a result of a website using their personal data.

The survey also finds 85 percent of consumers are unable to accurately say how many websites hold their personal data and well over half (54 percent) claim they would feel more comfortable sharing their data with websites if they were explicitly told how it was being used. The sheer volume of data is clearly proving unmanageable for consumers as well as businesses.

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“Education is important, but the onus for change has to rest with companies,” says IEEE Member Diogo Monica, security lead at Docker. “In the same way we have service level agreements, there needs to be an agreement in place between organizations and the consumer on what data is being collected and for how long. Furthermore, companies should aggregate users’ data in order to anonymize the information they hold and ensure that individuals cannot be identified”.

With around half of consumers wanting complete control over the data they share online, companies need to take seriously the task of ensuring the public are informed on what data they have and how it’s going to be used.

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