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GDPR: A global opportunity

GDPR: A global opportunity

Note: this study was performed in February of 2018. To learn about SurveyMonkey's current GDPR practices, visit our GDPR page, or download our white paper.
In a world where data breaches are on the rise in both scale and severity, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to strengthen the regulation of personal data use and standardize good privacy and security practices. While GDPR went into effect in the EU, its reach is much wider, and could present an ideal model for best practices around personal data for businesses everywhere for years to come. It could also provide a framework for creating transparency, and an essential roadmap for building and restoring trust with consumers worldwide.

We were curious about people’s awareness of GDPR in the months leading up to it, and wanted to understand their views regarding data security and privacy. And so we conducted the SurveyMonkey Security and Privacy Study in February, 2018 using  SurveyMonkey Audience, which is our global panel for market research. Here are a few things we learned:

Trust is paramount

Over 63% of our respondents say they’ve chosen not to use a company's products or services because of security or privacy concerns. The loss of business can be significant, but there is something larger at stake. Our study revealed that:

  • On average, 55% of people in the EU and US are concerned about the security of their personal data and 50% are equally concerned about their privacy.

  • 31% of those in the EU and 43% of those in the US stated that they don't know if their country's government even has rules protecting their data online.

  • For those aware of the measures their government takes to regulate security and privacy of personal data, only 23% of respondents in the EU, and a meager 12% in the US, believe the laws in place are effective.

In the US, while there is some case law and certain statutes which address aspects of privacy rights, privacy in and of itself is not an explicit constitutional right. Globally, rights around security and privacy are not only complicated, but vary greatly based on location. Combined with data breaches hitting a new record high with a 44.7% increase over the record high figures reported for 2016, consumers are feeling incredibly vulnerable.

Who’s accountable

In our study, 68% of people in the EU felt the government should play a large role in regulating security and privacy of their personal data—while in the US, 59% of people feel the government should play a small role or no role at all. Which means it’s safe to conclude that many consumers look to the very businesses and organizations they share their data with to be directly accountable to them.

Percentage of users who think companies don't do enough to share personal data

The opportunity

Businesses that are able to self-regulate and provide best-in-class security and privacy measures will win the long game; not only gaining customers and reducing churn, but fundamentally proving themselves to be trustworthy. Companies do well when they don’t assume that just because a consumer chooses to use their service or conduct a transaction with them, that they’re also okay with what happens to their data afterward.

During our webinar, SurveyMonkey and GDPR: Why it matters, consumers’ thoughts, and expert tips, our very own Managing Director of our EMEA office and VP of International for SurveyMonkey, discusses three key ways businesses can benefit from GDPR as a model for maintaining trust:

For more data from our exclusive study and tips from our experts, watch the entire webinar

Methods: This survey was conducted via SurveyMonkey Audience February 23-28, 2018. Respondents were 5,066 adults ages 18+, across 5 countries (USA, Germany, Ireland, UK, Netherlands).