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Consumers Take Advantage of Privacy Rights in Post-GDPR World

07 January 2019 - 10:40 by David Aiken

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The rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year saw businesses scrambling to improve their practices relating to the collection and use of customer information. Now a report published by GDPRPLAN.com has examined the changes in consumer habits that have been exhibited in the aftermath of this regulatory shake-up.

Perhaps most tellingly, the study found that the number of people placing complaints with the Information Commissioner’s Office was up by a whopping 113 per cent.

Analysts infer from this rapid rise in the reporting of improper data use that consumers are far more aware of the powers that exist to protect their privacy and ensure that they can carry out shopping online.

This highlights the double-edged impact of the GDPR, which not only forces commercial organisations to be more consistent and transparent when they are dealing with sensitive information but also lets average internet users know about what companies can and cannot do with their details.

87 per cent of all complaints issued to the ICO over the course of 2018 were directly related to the issue of data protection. Interestingly enough, the month of August saw the biggest spike in complaints, with reports up by 172 per cent compared with the same month in 2017.

Another offshoot of this trend is that the UK’s regulators are now having to handle over 4000 cases a month, meaning their workload has more than doubled. So long as they have the resources to deal with each instance of improper data use effectively, this should not be a problem.

Having a more security-conscious population is undoubtedly a positive step, although the fact that so many instances of data protection breaches are being reported suggests that there is still a long way to go.