If recent issues involving the abuse of personal data have caused you to rethink your use of Facebook, Google or your favorite online store, you're not alone. Conducted by the Blue Fountain Media team, a recent survey of 1,000 web users found that an overwhelming 90% are concerned about online security. 4% indicated trust in Facebook, while 18% and 3% respectively expressed similar feelings for retail sites and search engines. Despite their apprehension, however, most (60%) admitted to doing very little to safeguard their data, especially if convenience and time were at stake. With quick skims through terms and conditions and features that track location (and other personal factors) ubiquitous, nearly one in five (17%) reported that they'd keep using their favorite apps, even if those details were at risk. "The results," according to our VP of Business Development, Brian Byer, "show that while people are concerned about how privacy and personal information are being handled on the Internet, they really don't feel empowered to do anything about it." The irony is that almost two-thirds (63%) don't think access to personal information leads to a better, more personalized, online experience at all, the primary reason companies like Facebook say they want that data in the first place. For marketers and web users in the European Union (EU), add to the above the complications presented by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a series of rules designed to ensure the integrity of personal date for individuals. Rolled out on May 25th, these guidelines require that all businesses that wish to operate and serve in the EU comply with a new set of standards involving the collection, storage and usage of personal information for commercial purposes. Though not mandatory for businesses in the US, we've been working to help our clients better understand GDPR, and prepare for what many believe will be inevitable: the issuance of similar guidance for companies here in the States. As we, like others, watch closely and plan our next move.

Additional Survey Insights

  • 66% were unaware of new regulations (GDPR) surrounding privacy protection.
  • 60% download apps without reading the terms and conditions; 33% would delete it if they found out it tracked their location.
  • 54% feel less secure about purchasing from online retailers after reading about online breaches.
  • 28% admit to feelings of hopelessness when it comes to protecting themselves from security breaches on the Web.
  • 27% would give up privacy for Internet speed.
  • 23% look forward to learning what companies know about them.
  • 17% clear browser histories and delete cookies regularly.
  • 17% have signed up for at least one protective service; 16% have taken no steps.