Nine in ten Americans view data privacy as a human right, according to new report

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned with, and distrustful of, how companies use, manage, and protect their personal data.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Unless businesses improve their data privacy practices, they risk losing consumer trust and access to consumer data that they desperately need according to a new report.

Customer data increasingly drives business strategy across the enterprise as businesses use our information to accurately target our wants and needs. But Americans are deeply suspicious of what companies are doing with their data according to a new report from professional services firm KPMG.

Its new report about corporate data responsibility reveals how Americans are thinking about data privacy and what they expect from corporations who use their personal data.

The company surveyed 1000 Americans in May 2020. It reveals that nine out of ten respondents think that companies should be held responsible for corporate data breaches (91%), take corporate data responsibility seriously (91%), and take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility (91%)

Over four out of five (84%) said that they are open to state legislation giving consumers more control over their data.

Nine out of ten (91%) respondents agree that the right to delete personal data and the right to know how their data is being used should be extended to all US citizens – similar to the GDPR regulations for European citizens.

Almost three in five (56%) respondents say that companies should prioritize giving consumers more control over their own data in 2020.

The biggest worries around data breaches were about potential theft of their social security number (83%), credit card number (69%), and passwords (49%).

However, Americans still engage in behaviours they consider risky such as accepting cookies on a website or saving passwords online.

Nine in ten Americans view data privacy as a human right according to new report zdnet

Consumers seem to think that online voting is less risky (51%) than accepting cookies on a website (57%), or using the cloud to store personal information (63%). Only 42% of respondents thought that using facial recognition was considered a risk

Although only one in three (33%) say they are familiar with the California Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect at the start of this year, they overwhelmingly back many of its central features when asked about them.

Steve Stein, principal, KPMG Cyber Security Services said: "Part of the challenge for corporations will be getting employees and customers to do their part in protecting their own data."

Enterprises must better protect, manage, and ethically use consumer data in 2020. Data privacy issues are not going to go away.

Americans do take steps to protect their personal data such as; not opening email attachments from unknown senders (65%), using different passwords across different websites (51%) and using multi-factor authentication whenever possible (39%). But there is more that could be done.

Emerging technologies such as blockchain, or AI, alongside data discovery and protection tools, could be a way for businesses to increase consumer control over their data.

These technologies can help organizations better track the source of their data, assure its accuracy, make it easily discoverable, protect it and build greater external visibility into the data being collected.

Companies could also develop strong data privacy controls that consumers are aware of to build trust and goodwill. Putting appropriate guidelines and policies in place will go along way to establishing corporate data responsibility --  and ultimately --consumer trust.

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