In the wake of the latest Dixons Carphone data breach where an additional 9 million customer records were stolen, a new report by CA Technologies highlights that UK consumer trust is at an all time low as firms continue to sell personal data and display woefully inadequate security and data protection measures.
The report, developed in collaboration with Frost & Sullivan, created a new “Digital Trust Index” based on a number of different metrics that measure key factors around the concept of digital trust.
These metrics include how willing consumers are to share personal data in exchange for offers, convenience and discounted services, how well they believe these organisations protect that data and the extent to which they sell that personal data onward to other companies for invasive marketing opportunities.
According to the Index which scores countries out of a possible 100, UK consumer trust came in with a score of just 56, which is lower than in France and Italy. The US, Japan and China all scored higher despite the large amount of data breaches and surveillance that takes place in these regions.
Importance of Online Trust in a Digital World
Conversely, most organisations hold a different point of view towards consumer trust and when asked a similar set of questions regarding their perceptions of whether consumers trust them, an altogether different picture emerges. On average, organisations scored 75 out of 100 when estimating the degree to which consumers trust their organisations to handle their personal data appropriately.
“This new study reveals a marked gap in perception on trust, as it relates to UK consumers’ expectations and the way organisations collect, store and use their digital information,” said Stephen Walsh, director of security, CA Technologies.
“Consumers are increasingly transacting online, providing businesses with access to vast amounts of data, and organisations are consequently processing and storing a growing amount of personally identifiable user data.
“If businesses don’t do their due diligence to protect consumer data from getting into the wrong hands, trust can be fleeting, which can negatively impact the bottom line,” he added.
The report also details which industries are hit the worse by the negative perception when a data breach occurs and its effect on the bottom line, with Healthcare, Retail and Advertising industries affected worse by consumer reaction.
Making Money From Consumer Data
Europe and the UK showed greater awareness and belief toward companies selling personal information for financial gain. Only 33% of UK consumers did not believe organisations bought and sold personal data where, paradoxically, the US (52%), China (48%) and Japan (83%) showed markedly less awareness that personal information was traded between companies despite a number of high profile cases and continued awareness campaigns by whistleblowers like Edward Snowden to highlight the types and frequency of surveillance by government and industries was taking place.
Of the industries polled in the survey that admit to selling and sharing personal information with others, Financial Services topped the charts at 86% stating that under their terms of service they retain the right to re-purpose customer data for sales, marketing, or other revenue enhancement initiatives.