Many consumers ‘do not trust companies to use data responsibly’, survey suggests

A recent survey of 2,500 people by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) found that 57% do not trust companies to handle the personal information they collect responsibly.

Some 51% of those surveyed said that they had been contacted by organisations that had misused their data, while 92% stated that they did not fully understand how information that companies held about them was being used, and that they were ‘highly sceptical’ about marketing practices.


Lengthy and confusing online terms and conditions were cited as having contributed to trust issues, with only 16% of respondents saying that they always read these before agreeing to sign up for something.

Overall, the survey revealed a disparity between the methods that companies use to collect data, and public trust in those methods. For example, 71% of consumers said they did not feel comfortable with businesses tracking their location through their smartphones, yet a fifth of businesses are already collecting geo-location data. Similarly, a significant number of people do not like sharing data from their social media profiles, yet some 44% of businesses are collecting it.

Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the CIM, stated: ‘People are nervous about sharing personal data.

‘Fear of data breaches and misuse has them on high alert.’

The CIM has called for organisations to be ‘simple and clear’ about their policies if they wish to improve trust and confidence in their use of personal data.


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