KPMG: Consumers think that personal data privacy is a human right

A new KPMG survey has revealed that US consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with, and distrustful of, how companies use, manage and protect their personal data privacy. According to the survey, 56% of Americans reported wanting more control over their personal data, and insisted that both corporations and government must play an active role in protecting consumer data.

97% of the participants indicated that data privacy is important to them, with 87% characterizing it as a human right. However, consumers are deeply suspicious of what companies are doing with their data: 68% don’t trust companies to ethically sell personal data, and 54% don’t trust companies to use personal data in an ethical way.

Even though respondents indicated that data privacy is important to them, most Americans still engage in online behaviors they consider risky. The survey found that:

—   About 75% of Americans say they consider it risky to use the same password for multiple accounts, use public Wi-Fi, or save a card to a website or online store. Yet, more than 40% engage in those behaviors.

—   While 65% of Americans reported avoiding opening email attachments from unknown senders, only 31% install mobile device security software and 20% use their own virtual private network (VPN) when possible.

While most survey respondents indicated that consumers themselves have a responsibility to protect consumer data, even more want the government and companies to play a role. KPMG found that:

—   Nine in 10 Americans insist companies (91%) and the government (90%) have a responsibility to protect consumer data

—   Almost all (91%) agree the following data privacy rights of the California Consumer Privacy Act should be extended to all US Citizens: the right to delete personal data, and the right to know how their data is being used

—   More than nine in 10 Americans say companies should put data privacy guidelines and policies in place, be held responsible for corporate data breaches, take corporate data responsibility seriously, and take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility.

AirshipWith consumers indicating that they see data privacy as a human right, and new legislation expected in the years ahead, it is critical that companies begin to mature privacy programs and policies. Consumer demands for the ethical use of data and increased control over their own data must be a core consideration in developing data privacy policies and practices.

Orson Lucas, principal, KPMG Cyber Security Services