Are consumers really aware of, and concerned with, how their personal data is used by companies?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is a resounding yes. With so much of our lives now on the internet, personal data is a priceless asset. And research has only made this more prominent. Cisco’s 2022 Consumer Privacy Survey highlights some interesting insights about consumer attitudes towards data privacy, including their priorities and concerns. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the data in this survey and what it means for companies like yours.
Transparency is Key
The survey reveals that 39% of respondents stated that data transparency is the top factor that can help build trust with organizations when it comes to using and protecting their personal data. Consumers want to know exactly how their data is being used and protected, and organizations that are transparent about their data practices are more likely to earn their trust. In contrast, only 21% of respondents believed that organizations refraining from selling personal information would build trust, while 20% believed that complying with all privacy laws would do the same.
Consumers Take Action
The survey also demonstrated that consumers are increasingly taking action to protect their own data, with 37% of respondents reporting that they have ended their relationship with a company or provider over their data policies or practices. Moreover, 24% of respondents have exercised their data subject access rights to inquire about the data companies have about them, and 14% have requested changes or deletions to that data.
Mixed Feelings on AI Applications
Cisco also asked consumers about their thoughts on the drastic strides made in AI in 2022. The responses indicate that consumers are divided on their opinions about AI and its applications. While 43% of respondents believe that AI can be useful in improving their lives, 60% expressed concern about how businesses are using AI today. Additionally, 65% of respondents reported losing trust in organizations due to their AI practices.
This loss of trust is certainly understandable. In a viral Twitter post, one Snapchat user shared screenshots of their conversation with Snapchat’s AI, also known as My AI, powered by the now-famous ChatGPT. The user asked Snapchat’s AI multiple times if it knew their location, and the AI responded each time that it did not have access to the user’s location information. However, when the user asked where the nearest McDonald’s was, Snapchat’s AI immediately responded with an address. “This Snapchat AI just tried to gaslight me,” the user said.
This example from Snapchat is obviously unsettling. As experts have pointed out, chatbots cannot deliberately deceive people with malicious intent in the sense that humans can. However, they can still be programmed in problematic ways, or can be manipulated with certain prompts to generate uncomfortable responses. Companies that use AI in any form must ensure that even their chatbots are subject to the same standards of transparency as the rest of the organization.
Recommendations for Organizations
Consumer trust is crucial for any company. If potential customers don’t trust you with their data, they will provide either the bare minimum or none at all. Fortunately, based on Cisco’s survey, there are a few steps you can take.
To maintain trust despite the concerns consumers have about data privacy, organizations should consider implementing the following measures:
- Invest in transparency: Organizations should make their privacy policies accessible and easy to understand. Being transparent about how data is being used and protected is critical for building trust.
- Educate customers on privacy laws and their rights: Organizations should ensure that customers are aware of their privacy rights and relevant privacy laws. Consumers who know their rights, and know that companies will respect those rights, are more likely to trust companies with private data.
- Adopt responsible AI practices: Organizations should implement AI governance frameworks and be transparent about how AI is being used in their products and services. Additionally, customers should have the ability to opt-out of specific AI applications.
To summarize, the Cisco 2022 Consumer Privacy Survey highlights that consumers worldwide place a high priority on data transparency when it comes to trusting organizations with their personal data. Organizations that prioritize data privacy, adopt responsible AI practices, and are transparent about their data policies can build trust with their customers and maintain their reputation in today’s digital age.
Ready to start building trust with your customers? Contact our team of privacy experts today for more information.