Two thirds of Irish adults fear their data is being sold without consent – survey

Half of respondents concerned about amount of data held on them by government

Research marking the launch of 2019’s Cantillon Conference has found that more than two thirds (67%) of Irish adults are concerned that their personal data is being sold without their knowledge or consent, with a similar proportion (65%) agreeing they are concerned that their right to privacy is being compromised by the collection and use of their personal data by companies.

The survey, commissioned by Fexco Currency Exchange and IT Tralee, also found that only 21% of respondents were aware of what happened to their personal data when it is provided to a company, and only 22% could confirm how long their data could be legally stored for. It is also clear that a healthy distrust for authority lingers, with 50% of respondents agreeing that the government holds too much of their personal data and almost one fifth (19%) confirming the same for their employer.

The findings also compel companies to take stock of how they collect personal data where 88% of respondents do not think it necessary for companies to collect the volume and breadth of data that they do. Some 81% of respondents claim that they would consider not buying a product or using a service if the data ask is too detailed or invasive. This reluctance to engage with a product or service increases with age and peaks with those aged 55-64 (92%), while those aged 18-24 (67%) are less likely to claim it would influence their behaviour.

When asked if they would be happy to share their personal data when availing of services, if it meant that they would receive a better, more tailored overall service in the future 74% of respondents said they would be happy to share data for healthcare services, with educational services the only other service for which adults would be more willing to share than not. By contrast only 13% would provide it to Gaming outlets, 20% to marketing communications and 32% to retailers.

Ruth McCarthy, CEO of Fexco Corporate Payments, said: “It is clear from the research launched today that companies need to become more adept and efficient in how they collect and store data, ensuring they gather only what is required to maintain the customer relationship and that it is securely stored. It is worth consumers bearing in mind that when a service is offered for free in exchange for provision of personal data, then clearly someone in the value chain is finding a way of monetising that data.

TechCentral Reporters

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