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How Cambridge Analytica breach is driving consumer support for GDPR

by | May 14, 2018 | Public Relations

A new consumer survey from customer identity and access management firm Janrain reveals how the Cambridge Analytica breach involving data collected by Facebook has incited a major turning point in the way consumers feel about their data privacy.

The firm queried over 1,000 U.S.-based consumers and found 78 percent of them were aware that Cambridge Analytica had made off with the data of 87 million users without their permission. While nearly all of the people surveyed (94 percent) reported being generally concerned about their data, 57 percent said the breach made them even more concerned about data privacy than they had been in the past while 62% reported they are now thinking about closing their Facebook account

“One thing history has shown us time and time again is that irresponsible business will hurt public trust,” said Jim Kaskade, CEO at Janrain, in a news release. “Over the past few years, consumers had been reporting growing acceptance of allowing businesses to use their personal data in order to provide personalized products, services and experiences. However, that does not mean that you treat it any differently than financial or health information, which is highly regulated. The recent news surrounding Cambridge Analytica has awakened people to the fact that they value their social data as much as they do any other personal data. Now the question is whether businesses will begin to self-regulate to address this fact.”

How Cambridge Analytica breach is driving consumer support for GDPR

Most consumers want GDPR—their message to brands: “We’re watching you, too”

The survey shows many American consumers are open to regulations designed to give them greater control over how businesses use their personal data. 69 percent of those surveyed would like to see privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted in the U.S. When asked which of the GDPR provisions they’d most like to see enacted in the U.S., 38 percent responded with the ability to control how their data is used while 39 percent favored the “right to be forgotten” rule, which requires organizations to delete data they may have on a European user should the user ask.

“The good news is the Cambridge Analytica data misuse has brought a lot more awareness to the data privacy issue, which will force a hard new look at how personal data is being handled by businesses in the US,” continued Kaskade. “Ultimately, many experts agree (as do we at Janrain) that this will create more transparency in the use and protection of data, restore consumer faith in brands, and create stronger relationships that benefit both the business and consumer.”

How Cambridge Analytica breach is driving consumer support for GDPR

A matter of trust: 66 percent say trust affects their online behavior

Despite the strong reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a third of Americans are still in favor of websites and mobile applications that use their data to provide more personalized ads and experiences—as long as the business behind the site or app is protecting their data and using it responsibly.

The problem is a matter of trust: of those who aren’t okay with trading personal data for personalized experiences, half of them simply don’t like the idea of companies watching them online. Meanwhile, (43 percent) don’t believe businesses in general care enough to keep their data private and secure while 73 percent agree businesses simply “know too much.” Two-thirds go so far as to say this affects their behavior online.

How Cambridge Analytica breach is driving consumer support for GDPR

“Now that consumers have voiced their position regarding social data, we are going to need to have a similar discussion around data that is captured while you’re still anonymous but later linked to your known identity—as well as data produced by connected devices that describe you, your family, and extended circles,” said Kaskade. “The ‘data privacy problem’ is much, much larger than consumers even know.”

For more information, visit the complete Consumer Attitudes Toward Data Privacy Survey Report.

1,051 US-based residents 18 years-old and over participated in Janrain’s Consumer Attitudes Toward Data Privacy Survey, conducted online in April of 2018 with a ±3.1% margin of error.

How Cambridge Analytica breach is driving consumer support for GDPR

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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