Consumers are Increasingly Aware of Data Privacy Issues

published on Cybersecurity, Legal Risk Management
In addition to being a regulatory issue, data privacy is also a revenue issue. A company can lose out on revenue if consumers decide the company doesn’t have sufficient privacy protections in place and they feel their personal data is at risk. Naturally, consumers express growing concern about data and privacy issues among companies that have been the victim of a data breach. However, a new survey titled “Consumer Outlooks on Privacy” from Morrison & Foerster reveals that consumers do understand that a data breach can happen to any company. They conducted a survey of more than 900 consumers to gauge their opinions on the state of data privacy. The highlights of the survey are shared below.

Privacy affects purchasing decisions:

Consumers factor in privacy when considering a purchasing decision. In the last 12 months, 35% of consumers have made a decision about what company to purchase products or services from based on privacy concerns. Among consumers who identify themselves as “concerned” about privacy, 82% identify privacy concerns as a factor that has unfavorably impacted their decision to make a purchase from a particular company. In other words, they have refrained from purchasing goods at businesses that have lax privacy restrictions.

Consumer behavior and privacy:

There is a correlation among education, income and the influence that privacy has on consumer purchasing decisions. Consumers with higher incomes of $100,000 or more, as well as consumers that hold a university degree are more likely to buy a product if the company has implemented privacy protections. If a data breach has occurred, that same group has no problem with taking their business elsewhere.

Privacy and trust in the private sector:

Some consumers have resigned to the idea that companies have to protect sensitive and personal information all time. The majority of consumers (24%) responded that they trust companies with their personal information because no company is perfect. This suggests that there is a fine line between obtaining and handling consumer information. Consumers are noticing the security points that companies have in place, such as on their websites. However, companies have to let consumers know that despite the added inconvenience, it’s for their own protection.

Takeaway:

Consumers are often left out of the privacy puzzle, even though they may be the most critical piece of all. Consumer attitudes towards privacy are evolving as consumers become more informed about the disclosure of personal information, data breaches and privacy policies. In light of the increasing number of breaches involving personal data, the Dutch government imposed an obligation on data controllers in the Netherlands to notify the Dutch Data Protection Authority of any security breach that has, or poses a risk of having serious adverse consequences for the protection of data. Legisway has developed a Data Privacy module to help organizations monitor their processes in which privacy-sensitive data is used. Organizations should get to know their customers and what their expectations are in terms of privacy and protections against identity theft.