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  • Research: Data protection understanding down as GDPR arrives



    Public understanding of data protection down as GDPR arrives

    • Understanding falls following Facebook data scandal
    • Four in ten don’t trust any organisations to use their data responsibly
    • Those who understand GDPR trust organisations less with their data

    50% more people say they don’t know how organisations use their personal data today compared to two years ago, new research published by the Chartered Institute of Marketing reveals. 

    In 2016 only a third of people (31%) said they did not understand where and how organisations used their personal data, compared with almost half (48%) in 2018.

    This fall in understanding is despite the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulations, which aim to bring greater clarity to how organisations are allowed to use consumer data.

    The change in attitude could be down to increased public scrutiny of how organisations are using personal data, after the Facebook data scandal revealed how this is happening in ways that the public may not have previously considered. 

    Trust in brands low

    The research also found that public trust in how organisations use their data is very low. Almost four in ten people (37%) say that they don’t trust any organisations to use their data responsibly.

    Even more people (73%), don’t trust technology platforms like Facebook and Twitter with their personal data.

    The GDPR effect

    Levels of awareness about GDPR were fairly-high in the survey; one in four people (39%) said that they were aware of the regulations.

    The research also found that the views about data protection of those who knew about GDPR were quite different to those who did not, suggesting the regulations might have a positive impact on consumer trust as awareness grows.

    • Six in ten people (61%) who knew about GDPR said they understood how brands used their data, compared with three in ten (30%) who didn’t.
    • Three in ten of those who knew about GDPR said they did not trust organisations to use their data responsibly, compared with four in ten of those who did not know about GDPR.

    Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said:

    "Marketers have long understood that data is a crucial tool to help them reach target markets and create engaging content. However, recent scandals have heightened public concern about the abuse of personal data, and highlighted consumer uncertainty about exactly how it is used.

    The impact has been a decline in trust in brands. Social media platforms have taken the biggest hit, but all marketers should be concerned to prove to consumers that they take data protection seriously.

    There is some evidence that GDPR may help. People in our survey who were more aware of the regulations were more likely to say they understood data protection and trusted the organisations using their data more. GDPR should therefore be seen as an opportunity for responsible marketers and brands to reignite public trust and confidence."



    About CIM

    The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the world’s leading marketing body, with over 28,000 members worldwide, of which there are over 3,000 Chartered Marketers. CIM’s mission is create marketing advantage for the benefit of professionals, business and society with a focus on export, data and skills. It believes marketing is the critical factor in driving long term organisational performance.


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    For more than 100 years, CIM has supported, represented and developed marketers, teams, leaders and the profession as a whole. There are 130 CIM study centres in 36 countries and exam centres in 132 countries worldwide. In the last year, over 7,500 people registered at over 230 UK CIM events. Find out more about CIM by visiting https://www.cim.co.uk/.


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