Being online requires you to feel comfortable about giving up control of your personal information. You are constantly being tracked, regardless of which websites or services you use. Sometimes with your permission and sometimes without. Major data breaches over the years have exposed personal information of many people. There has been a lot of support for privacy and data security initiatives, which led to a debate about whether the federal government should intervene.
A recent survey found that most Americans answered this question yes. GetApp conducted a survey last month of 390 Americans about their internet habits and their opinions on data protection. Researchers found that consumers are more aware of their online privacy and willing to accept outside regulation to protect their digital safety.
The internet is not new to government regulation. Websites were asked permission to store cookies by the European Union in May 2018. This was in response to the rule being broken. Other governmental agencies have been inspired by the European example to reconsider their online privacy and protections. California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA span>) in June 2018.
Although the U.S. government still hasn’t implemented its GDPR version, Chris Warnock from GetApp, a specialist analyst, stated that there is a growing consensus among consumers that such a broad measure may be necessary.
He stated that data privacy is a popular topic with consumers’ increasing awareness about the huge amounts of personal information being mined through internet browsing habits. “Our survey revealed how popular privacy is as a right, with overwhelming support from consumers for regulation by the federal government. “
Although some of their needs can be addressed by the GDPR or the CCPA regulations, most people are not aware of them. Only 29% knew what GDPR was and only 25% had heard about CCPA.
Federal privacy rules for data are strongly favored
The idea of government oversight of the internet was for a long time considered to be a slippery slope towards further regulation. Researchers found that 87% of respondents would welcome government oversight, with the majority stating that federal law should protect their data.
These protections could be achieved through regulation of businesses that sell and buy consumer information. People want to be in control of when, how and how long their data are stored. Respondents also stated that they want the ability to “opt out” of data collection whenever and wherever they like.
Consumers feel like they are in a wild west, where they must give up their personal information to gain access to content. 81% of respondents felt obliged to give sensitive data in order to continue using a website. 82% also felt obliged to accept cookies. 71% of respondents said that they used fake information to get around this issue.
Businesses can do more for trust
The data privacy and protection debate revolves around the concern that businesses may misuse sensitive consumer data, resulting in data breaches. People are cautious about sharing their data with businesses, as such incidents have made headlines for years.
Research shows that companies must raise their data privacy standards. While some companies, such as Microsoft and Mozilla, are making efforts to protect their users’ data, scores of other companies are not. Because the CCPA and the GDPR only protect certain regions, there is little incentive to make those protections available to all.
Researchers recommend that small and medium-sized businesses invest in data privacy policies to build customer trust. Respondents were asked why they would accept cookies from businesses. 71% said that they did so because of their familiarity with the brand or business they were working with. 67% stated they just wanted to see content on a website.
Giving your customers data privacy autonomy is another way to build trust. The survey found that 85% of respondents would share their personal information if they could see all data collected. 92% said that they would share their data if it was possible to delete it.