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Americans worried about lack of control over personal info

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When it comes to sharing personal information online, Americans are no longer willing to accept the status quo of how businesses handle their personal data, according to a study for AU10TIX by Wakefield Research. While consumers are willing to share their personal information, the vast majority (86%) believe that businesses ask for too much in exchange for tangible benefits, while nearly as many (81%) feel they have lost control over their personal data once it’s shared.  

Coupled with the fact that nearly two out of three Americans believe online threats are growing faster than businesses and organizations can keep up, it’s not surprising that more than half of consumers (51%) are worried that their personal information may fall into the wrong hands. For plenty of people, it’s more than just a suspicious interaction. In fact, 44% of consumers have been victims of personal data theft themselves. As a result, nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said that the potential risks they face by providing too much personal data outweigh the benefits of doing business.

“We are on the cusp of a new era that will be defined by who controls data. For the past two decades, companies have been gathering tremendous amounts of data on people’s preferences, habits, and identities, transaction by transaction, often without customers understanding what is happening,” says AU10TIX CEO Carey O’Connor Kolaja. “Lines are now converging towards a clear endpoint where individuals will soon demand to exercise full control over their personal data and for businesses to step up and take more responsibility to safeguard and protect the information that they do collect from consumers.”

Amongst the key findings are:

•             A shift in consumer preference for security over convenience. Particularly given that Americans overwhelmingly (77%) place the responsibility of safeguarding the information they do share on the business or organization asking for it, there is a shift underway in consumer preference for security and control over convenience. Because of mounting concerns about the security of personal information, 67% of consumers are willing to sacrifice their convenience to keep their data locked down. More than 9 in 10 (92%) Americans said they would be willing to use some sort of security measure when gaining access to the organizations and services they interact with.

•             The new rules of data and corporate responsibility. The study also illustrated U.S. consumer attitudes towards security, prevention and recovery efforts, revealing significant expectations of businesses’ anti-fraud measures. Nearly all Americans (97%) expect some sort of action from the business or organization that suffered the breach; most (70%) believe businesses should alert all current customers in the event of a breach. Nearly as many (69%) say businesses that experience a breach that exposes customer data have a responsibility to help victims recover identities stolen.

•             Trust over transaction is the new data imperative. More than four in five Americans (81%) believe there is a lack of transparency in how businesses utilize personal information shared by consumers. Data privacy laws have been passed in some states while others have not yet set out clear boundaries and laws for handling consumer data. This is giving companies more freedom to do what they want with consumer data. Given growing concerns over data privacy, now is the time for businesses to nurture consumer appetite to protect their personal information and conduct safer transactions. The new data imperative calls for businesses to not only educate consumers about how their data is being used but also provides people with greater choice over what and how they share personally identifiable information.

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