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Digital Catapult Trust In Personal Data Study

When reading through the findings of the Digital Catapult’s Trust in Personal Data study, it is clear that we in the digital industry have a major and potentially industry-stifling, problem.

As digital products and services become part of day-to-day life, they will need access to consumer data. For example a mobile health device which monitors movement in the homes of the elderly and alerts family or carers to problems cannot meet its society changing potential without access to the data which will reveal health information. To access that data, technology developers, product and service providers need the trust of the public.

60% of consumers said they are uncomfortable sharing personal data, with 14% refusing to share any personal data at all. That is almost nine million people, based on the current UK population, who will not share their private information with businesses. We talk about the potential of smart technology and the Internet of Things to change the way healthcare, education and all other parts of society function. How can it achieve that if a portion of the population does not trust organisations?


Telling Consumers Why We Need Data

A big part of this problem comes from a lack of communication between organisations and consumers. In this study, 79% of consumers believe the main use of personal data is for organisations’ own economic gain. Looking at what would encourage them to share data, the majority (43%) said they would share information if it was clear it would be used to improve society.

So the very reason the public say they would share data is the reason the vast majority of organisations want access to it. Why is there a problem? It’s because consumers don’t trust that businesses have their interests at heart. This is why open, transparent communication is so vital to the future of digital technology.

It is also why it’s important to let consumers control their data – for 76% of those questioned in the Digital Catapult’s report, the main concern around sharing data is that they have “no control over how data is shared or who it is shared with”.

Enable iD’s data management model ensures personal information is only ever combined and transformed as specifically requested by individuals. In short, we give consumers control of their data and we give businesses the data they need to develop their products but we do so in a controlled way. But we alone cannot solve the data trust challenge.

We need to work with technology developers, government organisations and academia to build trust with the public and create an open, transparent forum for the controlled sharing of personal data. Digital stakeholders must act now to create this and make it clear to the public that they can control their data but also share it to benefit their own future. Without this, the digital industry will never reach its huge potential.


A Call To Arms!

I’m proud to be leading the Personal Data & Trust Network’s Digital Identity group.

Taking corporate social responsibility for customers and workforces by helping them to develop a healthy digital identity is becoming a key driver of efficient service delivery, competitive advantage and profitability. As our lives become more interconnected, it often requires cultural shift and the careful management of transformational organisation design. Progressive enterprise mobility, personal device access and social media policies have become business critical, with many companies finding themselves bound by third party terms and conditions in these areas.

By joining the PD&TN Digital Identity group, organisations can actively put respect for individual preferences with regard to the exploitation of personal data at the top of their corporate agenda.

They can help to define terms and conditions that enable rather than disable their business models. Whatever the size and shape of your organisation or its respective operating market(s), the Digital ID group aims to open up new opportunities for it to work with government, service providers, market stakeholders and customers to implement the practical steps needed to ensure responsible personal data management and privacy control.


To get directly involved please visit and register your interest.

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