Half of consumers say pandemic has made them more willing to share data

28 January 2021 Consulting.ca 2 min. read
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Fifty percent of consumers say the pandemic has made them more willing to share their personal data, according to a recent global survey from Big Four accounting and consulting firm EY. The “EY Global Consumer Privacy Study” found that people were especially willing to part with personal data if they knew it was contributing to Covid-19 research efforts and community wellness.

Willingness to share data in today’s “new normal,” however, varies by generation. Forty-nine percent of Gen Z’s said they have shared Covid-19 health data with an organization, followed by 45% of millennials. Only 21% of boomers said they shared their Covid-19 health data.

Though the pandemic has made many consumers more open to sharing personal data, it has also made them more aware of the data they share via digital communication. The top two factors boosting awareness were pandemic-related measures such as health-tracking apps (43%), as well as high-profile data breaches (43%).

Security and trust remain key factors when consumers choose to share information with an organization, according to the EY report. Consumers tagged secure collection and storage (63%), control over what data is shared (57%), and trust in the company (51%) as the top three factors influencing their decision to share personal data.Half of consumers say pandemic has made them more willing to share data“As the pandemic ushers in a new normal for data exchange, organizations must rethink data privacy to meet evolving consumer expectations and anticipate their future needs,” said Nicola Vizioli, privacy leader at EY Canada. “Those that cannot provide a clear benefit, data security, and transparency assurances may start to see customers go elsewhere.”

Canadian organizations will have to also likely have to contend with new privacy regulation in the form of the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA) contained in Bill C-11. The proposed legislation modernizes data protections and grants consumers more control and transparency on the use of their information.

Changes include clearer and more manageable access to one’s personal data, including right of transfer and erasure; companies must obtain consent in plain language; companies must have privacy management programs and must notify parties of breaches; increased penalties for offences, reaching up to 5% of global revenue; and the creation of a national privacy certification program and a data protection tribunal.

“While not yet law, the CPPA sends a strong signal that Canada is keeping trust and privacy a priority,” Vizioli said. “As businesses juggle to meet health and safety needs while delivering a captivating experience for consumers, they should start working to understand and plan for the operational impact and opportunities arising from new expectations and regulations.”