Post-GDPR: Expect to be overwhelmed by data privacy requests

Organisations should expect to be inundated with requests for personal information from UK consumers, with two in five already planning to take advantage of their data privacy rights within six months of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May 2018.

Under the new GDPR, European Union (EU) residents will have greater control over their personal data. Currently, EU residents already have the right to ask a company what personal data is held on them (e.g. gender, age, location, sexual preference, religious beliefs, passport/ driver’s licence information, etc.). Post-GDPR, consumers will also have enhanced rights to ask to have their data deleted (‘right to be forgotten’). Businesses will be required to sufficiently respond to these requests within one month of receiving the request.

The findings of the survey come as consumers reveal an increasing need to regain control over their personal data as trust in businesses to protect data fades, and as more and more consumers express a desire to put organisations to the test to understand whether they value consumer rights.

>See also: GDPR from a consumer perspective

“In light of recent events surrounding the use of personal data by social media, and other, companies, consumers are taking much more of an interest in how their data is used and stored by businesses across many industry sectors,” said Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer, Veritas.

“With a flood of personal data requests coming their way in the months ahead, businesses must retain the trust of consumers by demonstrating they have comprehensive data governance strategies in place to achieve regulatory compliance.”

The driving force behind a rise in data privacy requests

The forthcoming GDPR will impact any organisation that gathers, processes or stores the personal data of individuals in the EU. The research shows UK consumers welcome their enhanced privileges. Of those that intend to exercise their rights, two-thirds (65%) plan to request access to the personal data a company holds on them, while the majority (71 per cent) intend to exercise their right to be forgotten under the new regulations.

Key drivers for exercising data privacy rights

• Increased control over personal data: Over half of respondents don’t feel comfortable having personal data sit on systems that they have no control over.
• A clearer understanding of what data companies hold on them: 56% want to understand exactly what personal information companies hold on them.

>See also: The winding road to GDPR compliance

• Data breaches increase the likelihood of receiving requests for personal data: Nearly half of respondents will exercise their rights to request personal data and/or have that data deleted, if a company that holds their personal information suffers a data breach.
• Businesses are not trusted to protect personal data: Over a third intend to exercise their data privacy rights because they do not trust companies to effectively protect their personal data.
• Consumers want to put companies to the test: 27% want to test businesses to understand how much their consumer rights are valued before deciding whether to continue doing business with them.
• Consumers want to get revenge: 8% will exercise their data privacy rights simply to irritate a company that they feel has mistreated them.

Under the impending GDPR, this influx of personal data requests will need to be answered by organisations within a one month time limit. But meeting this timeframe may be difficult as many organisations have limited visibility into what data they have and where it is located.

>See also: Practical steps to deal with the GDPR 

Most consumers do not expect organisations to be capable of fulfilling their requests under the new regulation. The majority believe that organisations won’t be able to find and/or delete all of the personal data that is held on them, and a fifth believe that businesses will only be able to deliver up to 50% of the personal data they hold.

“It’s imperative that businesses embrace technology that can help them respond to these requests quickly, with a high degree of accuracy. This means having the ability to see, protect and access all of the personal data they hold regardless of where it sits within their organisation. Businesses that fail to recognise the importance of responding effectively and efficiently to personal data requests will be putting their brand loyalty and reputation at stake,” added Palmer.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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