Levels of concern over online privacy are growing, according to a report by data privacy consultants TrustE. Eighty-nine per cent of British consumers are worried about data privacy, the report found, with 60 per cent of those people saying they are more concerned than they were a year ago.
Of those reporting greater concern, almost two-thirds (60 per cent) said companies sharing personal data with other companies were the cause of their worry. More than half (54 per cent) said brands using data to serve behavioural ads to them was the reason they were more concerned.
Despite headlines about US intelligence services’ surveillance of people’s personal information in 2013, only 20 per cent said such stories were the reason for their increased concern.
The increasing level of concern does not appear to be without consequence. Ninety-one per cent are less likely to click on online advertisements, while 78 per cent said they would avoid using smartphone apps if they believe the company does not protect their privacy.
Ken Parnham, European managing director of TrustE, says: “Lack of trust can starve businesses of valuable data and sales, restricting the lifeblood of the digital economy as people are less likely to click on ads, use apps or enable location tracking on their smartphones.
“These findings show that success is no longer just about innovation, companies need to take decisive action to address online privacy concerns to stay ahead of the competition, minimise risk and build online trust.”
The report is released to mark data protection day today (28 January). Ipsos MORI conducted the online poll of 2,000 people in December.