Call for 'privacy charter' to protect personal data online

By Danny Palmer
23 May 2014 View Comments

Organisations should be made to sign a "privacy charter", which dictates what they're able to share about customers' personal data online and what compensation consumers should receive if that information gets compromised by a hack or data breach.

Thats the main finding of a survey carried out by KPMG and Censuswide. The survey, which asked over 1,000 people about their attitudes to privacy and surveillance, found that 83 per cent believe the way their personal data is controlled by third parties is wrong, while 81 per cent believe social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn should do more to protect the privacy of their users.

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Some 82 per cent said there should be legal implications for those companies that misuse personal information, with 84 per cent agreeing that individuals should get compensation if a company makes money from their data.

"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," said Stephen Bonner, partner for KPMG's Information Protection and Business Resilience.

"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."

The survey also suggests that people aren't keen on businesses aggressively tracking down the location of customers by using mobile phone data. Some 62 per cent said they did not want to receive targeted advertising in this way, while a further 60 per cent said they did not want to get advertising based around their specific needs at all.

Bonner suggested that the results show people have become tired of the intrusive nature of marketing tactics employed by firms, with people often receiving marketing emails despite opting to unsubscribe.

"People do not want to feel like they are being ‘tracked' for marketing purposes and indeed 75 per cent of respondents told us that they still get bombarded with marketing even after they have unsubscribed from online services," he said.

"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," Bonner added.

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