Consumers still aren't sure how companies are using their data

Image credit: Pixabay (Image credit: Image Credit: TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay)

Despite the introduction of GDPR last year, new research has revealed that consumers are still in the dark when it comes to how their data is collected, stored and used.

Mobile journey marketing company Ogury surveyed 287,571 consumers to better understand their attitudes towards marketing, advertising and data use to coincide with the one year anniversary of GDPR. Surprisingly just eight percent of those surveyed feel they have a better understanding of how companies use their data since the regulation was introduced.

Overall consumer awareness of GDPR was also quite low with 59 percent of respondents in the UK saying their understanding was no better than before the law came into effect while a further 29 percent said they did not even know what the regulation was.

Ogury's CEO and co-founder Thomas Pasquet explained that businesses first need to understand what GDPR is before they can educate their customers, saying:

“GDPR has not been taken seriously enough by organizations. These might be disheartening numbers for lawmakers and regulators, who will have no doubt hoped for a far greater level of understanding from the very consumers that GDPR is designed to protect. But marketers should similarly take heed of this admission by users that the message is not getting through in sufficient numbers. Businesses need to deeply understand what GDPR is and in turn educate consumers around the importance of data sharing; this level of consumer education will become increasingly important across the globe.”

The study's findings also revealed that businesses have not properly instituted a requirement for explicit and informed user consent in regard to data collection. Even when a consent notice does appear on a website, 78 percent of users globally don't read these notices in their entirety.

Reading and understanding are also two very different things and roughly half of consumers globally (52%) said that even when they do read consent notices, they still do not understand how their data is used. This was even higher in countries where GDPR has been implemented with 58 percent of European respondents unsure of how companies use their data.

Ogury's survey also revealed that wen given an explicit choice, 71 percent of those surveyed would be prepared to share data from mobile apps and website usage. In fact, they would even be willing to share their contact details as an alternative to paying for access to apps and online content.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.