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Consumers reveal online privacy concerns

03 May 2017 - 13:27 by Simon Crisp

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A survey published last week by Gigya indicated that shoppers in the UK have commonly held fears relating to the way that the private data they pass on to retailers and brands is used.

Over two thirds of respondents said that they felt uncertain about the levels of security and safety offered to them by the organisations with which they engage. Specifically, there are concerns about how the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is having an impact on privacy, since millions of smart devices now track billions of data points during use, with this information made available to the firms which created them.

Most people questioned in the study said that they believe the government’s policies on data protection and privacy are being weakened over time, leaving consumers at greater risk of having their information sold, or indeed stolen.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the over 65s who are most worried about the way that privacy is being eroded by the rise of technology, with almost three quarters of the people in this age group admitting that they feel troubled by the direction that regulators are taking at the moment.

Of course, people who want to go shopping online in the UK will realise that handing over some personal information is essential to enable any kind of transaction to take place. Furthermore, the reputable, mainstream retailers who operate here have policies which adhere to data protection rules, while also giving customers the option to determine whether or not their details are passed on to third parties.

There are other areas, outside of safe shopping online, in which the line between what is and is not acceptable is less defined. Certainly the use of fitness trackers and other IoT devices to harvest data relating to an individual may prove problematic, but only if the information is exposed without permission.