Most Brits fear advertisers will get track and trace data

covidFears that the UK’s Covid-19 track and trace programme could have a detrimental affect on the data-driven marketing industry appear well founded, with a new study revealing that more than four-fifths (84%) of Brits are worried that their contact tracing data will be used by organisations for purposes unrelated to the pandemic.

So says the Cost of Privacy: Reporting on the State of Digital Identity in 2020 report from Okta, which surveyed 12,000 online consumers globally, including 2,218 in the UK.

Brits cited advertising as the top purpose, with over three-quarters (79%) worried about their data being used by organisations to serve personalised ads.

In fact, most UK respondents are uncomfortable with the idea of companies collecting their data full stop, particularly offline conversations overheard by devices (82%), passwords (79%) and biometric information (77%). Over four-fifths (82%) are also worried their data will be held insecurely, in addition to concerns about sacrificing too much privacy (76%) and impacting finances, such as insurance premiums (62%).

Okta vice-president and general manager EMEA Jesper Frederiksen said: “Businesses need to be more transparent about what data they’re collecting, how it’s stored and where it’s being used if they want to improve trust.

“We need to start having open and honest conversations about data tracking. Businesses require data to innovate and improve, but by not disclosing relevant information, they risk losing customers altogether.”

The study follows the publication of the DMA’s third Coronavirus Business Survey, which exposed the key concerns, challenges and needs of companies sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The findings revealed that over two-fifths (42%) of professionals are fearful about the negative impact the “Test, track and trace” programme will have on the industry, with many worried about the impact the Government’s strategy could have on long-term consumer trust – specifically trust in how institutions (59%) and brands (43%) use personal data.

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