Data Privacy

The good news about personal data sharing – it’s growing

Personal data privacy has been in the news many times over the past few months – and rarely for good reasons.

Whether it was the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, or the numerous large scale data breaches such as Marriott, Equifax and Yahoo, the result is that the public at large cannot help but be much more aware of the potential risks to any of their information online.

But this heightened awareness works two ways of course – understanding potential problems and issues arising from the current data model is an important and necessary step to exploring what the solutions could be, and the steps any of us can – and should – take to get back in control, in this case of our data.

At, we believe passionately in the power of putting people back in charge of their own data, in control of what is shared with whom, and then directly experiencing the benefits from this, in terms of either personalised services, convenience or other rewards.

Consented shared data, direct from the individual, so verified and 100 per cent accurate, has a whole host of applications, for everything from health research to innovation. And these are not just applicable on a personal or societal level, but commercial too – it can deepen the relationship between brands and consumers through greater understanding and the personalised offers that result from this.

So it was very heartening to read about two studies which found that personal data sharing is on the rise, especially where that sharing is explicitly tied to benefits.

Experian’s recent Global Identity and Fraud Report, for example, found that 70 per cent of consumers are willing to share more personal data with the organisations they interact with online, particularly when they see a benefit such as greater online security and convenience.

And this research is not an outlier – a US Center for Data Innovation survey released in January came to a similar conclusion, finding that 58 per cent of Americans are “willing to share their most sensitive personal data” (ie biometric, medical and / or location data) in return for services or benefits that they want.

While the survey found that 70 per cent of Americans would not allow a mobile app to collect their biometric data without tradeoffs, that dropped by 6.7 percentage points if it was to make it easier to sign into their accounts, and by 19.6 percentage points if it would make their account more secure.

So what can we take away from this? Consumers are not inherently opposed to sharing their data, even sensitive information such as medical details, but they – understandably – want to see some benefit from doing that.

The future of personal data sharing – and increasing its occurrence even more – lies in understanding why consumers would share their data, and providing that opportunity, with full consent, security and privacy, so they always remain in control.