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People don't trust how businesses use their personal data

People are usually uncomfortable giving away personal information to businesses, and some of them completely refuse to give any personal data at all.

These are the results of a Digital Catapult study called Trust in Personal Data, which suggest that this “worrying trend” could “hinder the delivery of digital services and business growth, in the UK for years to come”.

According to the study, 60 per cent of consumers admitted to being uncomfortable sharing personal data, and 14 per cent refused to share any personal data at all.

The biggest issue is in the way businesses handle that data, study suggests. As it says, 65 per cent of respondents are “unsure if data is being shared without their consent”, and 30 per cent said the retail sector is most guilty of using personal data without being clear they are doing so.

People trust mostly the public sector (44 per cent of people), while just 2 per cent said they trusted telecoms.

The issue is also in the way consumers perceive their information and what it’s used for. Instead of being used for the improvement of customer service and innovation, 79 per cent of consumers believe their data is being used for the business’ profit.

For 76 per cent, the main concern around sharing information is that they have “no control over how data is shared or who it is shared with”. As such 94 per cent of respondents stated they want more control over their data.

When asked under what circumstances would they give their personal data away, 43 per cent said they would do it “if it was clear that it would be used to improve society”.

Almost a quarter (21 per cent) of those surveyed said monetary gain would most convince them to share their personal data with 61 per cent stating their information should be worth at least £30pcm.

Sue Daley, Head of Programme, Big Data, Cloud and Mobile at techUK commented: “As our digital activities continue to mature the amount of data being created, processed and shared, both online and offline, continues to grow exponentially. These findings demonstrate just how important it is that people understand who has access to their data and how it is used.

"The role and importance of data to the continued development of the UK digital economy is clear. Data is the power that will drive our digital economy. But our digital future will only be fully realised if consumers feel confident to share their data. Ensuring personal information is handled in an appropriate and transparent way is key to maintaining consumer privacy and trust.

"The new European data protection regulation has the potential to underpin public trust and business growth, but we must get it right. We have called on the UK government to engage on negotiations to ensure the Regulation delivers strong consumer data protection whilst also enabling innovation which is key to the UK’s future digital economy"