Data Security Photo: IFPO

Consumers increasingly wary of how corporations handle their personal data

*Corporations, governments must work harder to protect consumer data ─Survey

*Over 68 percent surveyed don’t trust companies to ethically sell their personal data

*Technology firm highlights 4 ways for data protection

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As concerns about the way organisations and business corporations handle their data increase in recent times, a survey suggests that most people want more control over how businesses use their personal information.

ConsumerConnect gathered that as big technology companies get bigger, and even smaller players dig deeper into consumers’ personal histories, the latest survey submits that the public is becoming increasingly wary.

The KPMG survey indicates rising concern among consumers about how corporations use, manage, and protect their personal data.

The survey, for instance, found 56 percent of Americans want more control over their personal data, and believe that both corporations and the government must work harder to protect consumer data, according to ConsumerAffairs.

Report says privacy appears to be a hot button topic with consumers, particularly when it comes to technology.

Ninety-seven percent of consumers in the survey checked the box when asked if it’s an important issue.

Consumers are deeply suspicious of what companies are doing with their data. Well over half ─ 68 percent ─ don’t trust companies to ethically sell their personal data.

Data and Cybersecurity    Photo: CareersInAudit.Com

Orson Lucas, Principal at KPMG Cyber Security Services, said: “With consumers indicating that they see data privacy as a human right, and new legislation expected in the years ahead, it is critical that companies begin to mature privacy programmes and policies.

“Consumer demands for the ethical use of data and increased control over their own data must be a core consideration in developing data privacy policies and practices.

It is recalled that Facebook may offer a case in point in how consumers’ personal data gets packaged and sold, stated the report.

The issue burst into the headlines in 2018 when Facebook revealed that a political marketing firm, Cambridge Analytica, had gained unauthorised access to user data to target political ads in 2016.

There have been other revelations of the misuse of consumer data in the years that followed, including a 2019 disclosure which indicated that as many as 100 app developers retained data from user groups on the platform.

In June 2020, Google was sued for allegedly violating the privacy of millions of users by tracking their use of the Internet via browsers set to “private” browsing mode.

The lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion; $5,000 per user or three times actual damages, whichever is greater, according to the complaint.

As consumers overwhelmingly believe companies and the government need to do more to protect privacy, the KPMG survey also found consumers have some responsibility in that area too, revealed the survey.

More than 40 percent of those in the survey said they often use the same password for multiple accounts, use public Wi-Fi, or save a card to a Web site or online store, even though they are aware that it poses a privacy risk.

“Part of the challenge for corporations will be getting employees and customers to do their part in protecting their own data,” said Steve Stein, a Principal at KPMG Cyber Security Services.

Meanwhile, a Zoho Corporation, a global technology company, has underscored four ways to ensure that business software providers protecting consumers’ personal data.

Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation, said in a statement that in the past few years, privacy breaches around the world had made technology users conscious about the way their data was being used.

Bourne said that to ensure that one did not get dragged into the trap of software breaches, one should do the following: One should ensure that business providers did not use a third party tracker.

Others are that consumers need to seek out regulatory compliance, regular communication around data protection, and honesty about revenue streams.

Many business software providers use third-party trackers that allow them to study their Web site visitors, he said.

The Manager stated: “However, the apps they used to track them, they use that data to sell ads. This is known as adjunct surveillance.

“With the upcoming macOS Big Sur update, it will be easier for users to know which websites are tracking them.

“One of the most powerful tools any organisation has at its disposal when it comes to data protection is user education.

“The data and security landscape is, after all, evolving constantly and your business software provider needs to be on top of that.”

According to him, if your provider was educating you on the latest data threats, it was a powerful demonstration that it cared about you keeping your data secure.

Bourne disclosed that data privacy issues did not just affect private individuals, they could have a massive impact on businesses, with the average data breach costing in excess of 3.8 million Dollars.

Surveillance companies, which relied heavily on showing ads to survive, collected user information even from adjunct properties (such as Web sites of service providers) without users’ permission, he stressed.

Likewise, United States President Donald Trump President Donald Trump has said he will ban Chinese-owned TikTok from the country, following concerns about data collection by the popular music-video app, escalating the administration’s clash with China.

President Trump disclosed to reporters Friday, July 31 that he would issue a decision about the video app Saturday, according to report.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.

Asked when it would happen, Trump said: “Soon, immediately. I mean essentially immediately. I will sign the document tomorrow (Saturday).”

Trump said he had the authority to ban the app, owned by ByteDance Limited, which is one of China’s biggest tech companies, a move he could make by executive order or under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Additional reporting by Gbenga Kayode

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