A recent poll by marketing research firm GfK reveals that almost nine out of 10 (88 percent) U.S. consumers are at least "a little" concerned about the privacy of their personal data. One in three consumers also reports being directly impacted by misuse of personal data within the past year.
Roughly half (49 percent) say they are now "very much" concerned about the privacy of their data, and 59 percent indicate that their concern has risen in the last 12 months.
Consumers also say they want more protection; 56 percent indicate that top organizations, such as social networks and credit card companies, need to take action, and 54 percent believe the U.S. government is not doing enough to safeguard their data. Almost 80 percent feel that the government should be more involved in implementing regulations to prevent organizations from "repurposing personal data for third parties." But less than half (48 percent) of consumers are changing their own online habits because of privacy fears, by avoiding online banking, social networks, or other online activities and resources.
"Shared data is, in many ways, the engine of the online economy, especially in this era of Big Data," said GfK CEO Matthias Hartmann. "Keeping a close eye on consumers' feelings about data privacy provides essential intelligence for the marketplace — allowing quicker and smarter reactions to emerging concerns."
According to the company, the survey shows that consumer trust is not equal across all industries. Online retailers are still highly trusted by consumers — even after the major data breaches of recent months — ranking as the third most trusted type of organization to handle consumers' data. Hospitals and healthcare providers rank at the top of the most-trusted organizations, receiving a positive response from over 70 percent of respondents; but online social networks land in the bottom three in terms of trust, earning positive marks from only 39 percent of consumers.