70% of Britons see data collection as ‘immoral’

The majority of people in the UK have a negative view of data collection, calling the practice ‘immoral’, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by creative tech agency Rehab, surveyed 2,091 Britons about how companies respect their personal data.

Their findings showed that 70% of UK citizens believe companies collecting their data is an “unethical” practice.

Additionally, 54% said they were now more aware of how their personal data is used compared to 2020. 61% said they were not comfortable with companies knowing their behavior online.

Just under half – 48% – said they were unaware that some companies were selling personal data they had collected to third parties.

Only 16% said they felt the companies they interacted with had a good understanding of their needs.

In its report, Rehab warned that tracking, digital advertising and cookies had contributed to damaging trust in UK businesses and the practice of data collection. The company pointed to high-profile cases like the Cambridge Analytica scandal as having demonstrated how companies misuse personal data.

However, despite discomfort with companies collecting and using their personal data, 39% of respondents said they prefer personalized online experiences, which rely on companies collecting personal data. This figure rose to 45% for people aged 18 to 24.


Commenting on the findings, Zoho Europe Managing Director Sridhar Iyengar said, “Consumers have a right to be concerned about how their data is used. Many websites, online tools, and e-commerce platforms still deploy “additional surveillance” tactics – that is, monitor and mine your data without express permission – and use this stolen information to resell it. to interested parties, who will likely deploy them for commercial marketing tactics. , at least.

“Often commercial services that facilitate data mining do so indirectly, through third-party trackers embedded in their software or website, where they have no control over how that data is then processed, ‘secure’ or deployed.

“The reason is clear. Data is extremely valuable and can provide a crucial competitive advantage in today’s increasingly digital business landscape. However, consumers are clearly increasingly aware of these illegal and – we, and consumers feel according to the survey – unethical tactics, and the brands that facilitate them risk losing customers and damaging their reputations. It is then vital that third-party trackers are removed from websites, and that companies are upfront and fully transparent about any marketing tactics that capitalize on consumer data.

Iyengar added, “Until regulators crack down on data collection, consumers have the right to voice data privacy concerns and boycott any website that makes them unsafe. We believe this practice must stop in order to generate transparent and fruitful partnerships with companies and their customers moving forward.

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