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    Wall Street Journal: U.K. Consumers Deeply Skeptical Over Data Collection

    The Wall Street Journal reports on a study, “Data Nation 2012,” about the attitudes of consumers in the United Kingdom toward companies’ collection of personal data:

    The British public is deeply skeptical of companies collecting personal data, does not trust companies to safeguard that data, and opponents of data collection overwhelmingly outnumber those who support it, according to a report published Tuesday.

    Data Nation 2012, published by Deloitte, found that while 82% of the U.K. population are aware their data is collected by organizations, only 29% are confident companies will not sell or share their data with other groups without their knowledge.

    On average, people are over eight times more likely to oppose data use than to favor it. Of those opposed, more than half (51%) say it is because they do not know what will happen to their data once collected.

    Indeed according to the report, the top two issues that would make a customer consider never using a company again are data-related: 70% said they would consider breaking off the relationship if the company failed to keep their personal data safe, and 56% said that selling anonymized data — data that has had personally identifiable information removed — to other companies would potentially result in similar action. […]

    One of the key promises of Big Data, the ability to deliver more focussed and targeted advertising, was not welcomed by customers. “When asked directly how they feel about receiving such tailored communications, adverts or offers for products or services that are based on items previously bought or looked at, only one in six of the UK population (17%) said they are happy. Of the remainder, 45% said they are unhappy and 38% were either undecided or don’t know how they feel.” […]

    Unhappiness with data collection in general appeared to be linked to age and income. Those in favor of data use tended to be younger, used the Internet less frequently and were readers of mass-market newspapers. Those who opposed data collection were higher income (£50,000+ and from AB socio-economic groups). […]

    The 2012 Deloitte data attitudes survey is based on two focus group sessions and a national survey carried by Ipsos MORI on Deloitte’s behalf. The survey sample comprised 1,036 teenagers and adults, aged 15 and older, representative of the national population. It was conducted using face-to-face interviews between March 30 and April 5.

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