The Irish public are wising up to data privacy, according to GDPR survey

11 Sep 2017266 Shares

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More Irish people want control over their data. Image: HomeStudio/Shutterstock

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The Irish public are enthusiastic about enacting new data rights under GDPR once it comes into force in May 2018.

GDPR looms large on the to-do lists of Irish companies, with less than a year to go until the strict regulations are put in place. However, it seems as though it hasn’t just been the business and tech industries paying attention, as noted by a new survey commissioned by SAS.

The Irish public are more than ready to implement their new data rights under GDPR, with 77pc of the 1,000 Irish adults polled intending to activate new rights over their personal data once it has been ratified.

‘We are entering a new data era that requires a firm grip of customer data – one that rewards consumers as well as protects their right to privacy’
– CHARLES SENABULYA

Chomping at the bit to enact new GDPR rights

The national sentiment seems to be one of empowered citizens who are more acutely aware of how their data is handled, stored and used by various organisations, from the government to social networks. More than a quarter of the respondents intend to get in quickly, hoping to activate their new rights in May, the month that GDPR kicks off.

There were some notable differences in the interest levels according to different age groups, with people aged between 25 and 34 being the most likely to issue a data request, at 30pc. This drops to just 17pc among the 18-to-24-year-old age bracket.

In terms of what exactly the Irish public is looking forward to gaining control over the most, the ‘right to access’ (getting a copy of your personal data held by an organisation) topped the poll at 73pc, while the ‘right to erasure’ (erasing of personal data from certain systems) came in second at 66pc.

With the compliance proceedings proving to be quite an undertaking for organisations, these findings show an increasing public awareness of the value of personal data, and in just how many ways this information can be used.

Gaining trust in an age of data literacy

For some organisations, gaining public trust will be a tougher nut to crack than others. Social media companies are zooming into first place, with 62pc of respondents set to request for removal of data, and 47pc just looking for access. Second in line are insurance companies, followed by political parties, supermarkets, charities, energy companies and, finally, employers.

It’s also worth noting that only a minority of respondents would be willing to share data on friends and relatives, political preferences, and their emotions. Contrast this with 56pc of participants willing to share their basic demographics, and 34pc willing to give over their personal contact details to companies or organisations.

Charles Senabulya, vice-president and country manager for SAS UK and Ireland, said: “Organisations will need to be prepared to manage the volume of response from individuals making requests over their data – and that includes employees.

“Overcoming this challenge presents an opportunity for organisations as they form a new type of relationship with customers and employees that is bound by integrity, understanding and respect for their individual choices.

“We are entering a new data era that requires a firm grip of customer data – one that rewards consumers as well as protects their right to privacy.”

The increased public knowledge about GDPR mirrors the concerns over the Public Services Card that have been bubbling away for the last few months, emphasising the average person’s interest in gaining control over their data.

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com