Two thirds of US consumers say Government should do more to protect data privacy

In the wake of breaches, US consumers are concerned more than ever about their data.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Over two thirds of US consumers think the Government should do more to protect data privacy, and say they're ready for federal regulation similar to GDPR.

A recent survey from Cary, NC-based software analytics company SAS has been asking what data protection measures consumers want.

In July 2018 it polled 525 US consumers about data privacy issues, including how it affects their behaviors and trust toward the companies they engage with.

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into effect on May 25th 2018.

Any organizations that gather data on European Union (EU) residents  are accountable for personal data protection.

GDPR also gives EU residents significant new rights over their personal data such as the rights to access, query and erase personal data held by organizations.

Two out of three (66 percent) said that they have taken steps to secure their data, such as changing privacy settings, removing a social media account or declining terms of agreement.

Almost three quarters (73 percent) of respondents said they are more concerned about their data privacy now than they were a few years ago. And almost two-thirds (64 percent) said they feel their data is less secure today than it was a few years ago.

Of those who think the US needs more data privacy regulation, over four out of five (83 percent) would like the right to tell an organization not to share or sell their personal information.

Four out of five consumers (80  percent) also want the right to know where and to whom their data is sold. 

Almost three quarters (73 percent) said they would like the right to ask an  organization how their data is being used, and almost two out of three (64 percent) said they would like the right to have their data deleted or erased.

Two thirds of US consumers say government should do more to protect data privacy

Health care and banking are at the top of the industries people trust most to protect their data. Almost half of participants reported they were very confident or extremely confident that organizations in these industries are keeping their data secure.

Social media was the least trusted, with only 14 percent reported they were very confident or extremely confident.

US states are already reacting to this level of concern. California recently passed legislation similar to GDPR that will take effect in 2020, and Vermont became the first state to enact a law regulating data brokers who buy and sell personal information.

In September, the US Senate held its first committee meeting on how lawmakers can protect consumer privacy, and in early November, Sen. Ron Wyden proposed the Consumer Data Privacy Act, a bill similar to GDPR that would penalize CEOs in addition to the companies.

Lisa Loftis, thought leader on the SAS customer intelligence team said: "These state laws are likely the beginning of US legislation. 

Organizations are still wrestling with existing regulations like GDPR, and new regulations like a US government data privacy law could prove challenging."

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