Brits trust banks more than social media companies when it comes to personal data

Banks and health providers are most trusted by consumers when it comes to handling personal data, but on the flipside, social media and gaming companies are considered the least trustworthy, according to a new report on privacy from KPMG.

The survey of nearly 7000 consumers in 24 countries, comprising of 500 UK respondents, also indicated that they felt that social media companies and retailers ask for too much unnecessary personal information. In contrast, people in the UK are generally accepting of the amount of personal information asked for by health providers, education & training organisations and law enforcement bodies.

Mark Thompson, Global Privacy Lead at KPMG, said: “It’s clear that Brits trust organisations they deal with for life’s most important things like health and wealth. They least trust companies they interact with from a leisure perspective like social media and gaming companies.

“Businesses need to do more to ensure customers trust them with their personal data. Our survey has found that the most effective things organisation can do to assure people that they can be trusted with their data is to demonstrate strong cyber security systems are in place (32 percent), be clear on what they intend to do with personal information (27 percent) and give assurance it won’t be shared with third parties without consent (24%).”

Data Handling

The report went on to find that nearly three out of five people in the UK are seriously concerned about the way companies handle and use their personal information, and over a third feel they have no control over it at all. An overwhelming 80 percent of the respondents highlighted that control of their privacy is far more important than the potential convenience gained from sharing personal data. The key worries were around hackers and companies selling to a third party.

“An executive would be at risk of being fired if half their customer base disappeared after they made a crucial business decision,” said Thompson. “Failure to embed privacy into the DNA of their business strategy could ultimately lead to the extinction of a business given how closely consumers and regulators alike are paying attention to how organisations collect, store and use personal data.”

Creepy vs. Cool

When it comes to the attitudes on the usages of personal data, consumers across the UK often draw the line in dramatically different places.

Consumer found the following things ‘creepy’:

  • 67 percent said that apps that accessing personal data is creepy
  • 85 percent of respondents found personalised billboards based on your previous purchase behaviour creepy
  • 77 percent found personalised adverts based on your personal emails creepy

But were happy to share their personal data in some cases:

  • 66 percent of respondents were fine with their energy provider monitoring usage of smart meters.
  • 78 percent were happy with tracking devices in cars for use by emergency services

“For companies seeking to use personal data to personalise their marketing and services to the individual, build brand loyalty and develop better products, it is important they understand that although opinions on privacy vary, it is clear that, more than anything, consumers value privacy over convenience, concluded Thompson.