Consumers have called on policymakers to create a Privacy Charter to dictate what organisations should be allowed to share in terms of personal data online, and as importantly, what compensation they should receive when organisations are hacked.
In a survey carried out by KPMG and Censuswide of more than 1,000 consumers on their attitudes to privacy and surveillance, respondents revealed their anger at the current legal situation which allows apps and websites access to swathes of their personal data with seeming impunity. The overwhelming majority of those questioned (82%) said it was time for a Privacy Charter.
Current legislation in the UK allows the Information Commissioner, the public body set up to uphold information rights, to impose a fine of up to £500,000 where regulations have been breached. But this system was created in 2010 and consumers want more done to protect their privacy.
For example, 83% said it was wrong that their personal data was controlled by third parties and a further 81% agreed that social media companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn should protect users’ privacy. In addition, 86% of respondents said they would like to know exactly who had access to their information and for what purpose. And in a reflection that the mood of consumers is hardening, 82% of those questioned said they should have recourse in law if a company misused their information while 84% agreed they should get compensation if a company made money from their data.
Stephen Bonner, Partner for KPMG’s Information Protection and Business Resilience team said: “Consumers are saying that ‘enough is enough’. We hear almost daily of companies, both large and small being hacked, but what we hear less of is the toll this has taken on those people whose data has been stolen.
“Consumers would like to see the creation of a compliance framework within which everyone can operate and which would provide some level of comfort that consumer needs are being more widely considered.”
As well as data protection in the broadest sense, the public have also become weary of being aggressively targeted by companies using customer mobile phones to track their location. When asked about this, 62% said they did not want to receive targeted advertising in this way while a further 60% said they did not want to get advertising based around their specific needs at all.
Stephen added: “Again, what this shows is that consumers have become tired of the intrusiveness of some of these marketing tactics. People do not want to feel like they are being ‘tracked’ for marketing purposes and indeed, 75% of respondents told us that they still get bombarded with marketing even after they have unsubscribed from online services. What we have found is that companies need to think long and hard about how they talk to their customers and potential customers, or there is a real risk they will turn them off to their products rather than driving new business.”
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.