Most people believe they should fully own their "digital selves"

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The majority of consumers believe they should know exactly where and how their data is being used by companies online.

Research from Truata found over three quarters of global consumers (77%) believe that data held digitally about them should be their own property.

Responsible use of this data is also paramount, as nearly two-thirds (61%) of consumers revealed they had stopped using brands that stalk them online, and a similar proportion (65%) admitted they still don’t know exactly what data, and how much, is being collected by brands.

Data protection

The global study, which is released around the two-year anniversary of the launch of GDPR in Europe, shows that although progress has been made concerning data security and privacy, there is still some way to go.

Over half (59%) of the respondents believed that most companies weren't attuned to the importance of data protection, and simply see it as a tick-box exercise to comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR.

Many consumers now admit to taking precautions to reduce their online data footprint, with 78% of respondents saying they have taken action to avoid sharing their personal data with brands, from using private browsing modes to even falsifying their personal details.

Consumers are also being put off by brands being too personal and friendly with them, with six-in-ten (60%) consumers say brands know too much personal information, and almost two thirds (63%) agree they would stop using or buying from brands that could not show they care about being responsible with personal data.

“Our digital lives are being shaped before us via our personal data, and our report highlights that consumers want to reclaim control of their data in today’s digital age. What’s also alarming is the steps they will take to protect it from cavalier or inappropriate use by organisations," said Felix Marx, CEO, Truata.

“Brands are now able to build ever more detailed profiles of us from our digital footprint, but when it comes to using our personal information to build relationships, there is clearly a fine line between being helpful and behaving ethically, to being invasive and creepy.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.