Consumers Have Newly Minted Data Privacy Rights – Now What?
Virginia and Colorado joined California in adopting comprehensive data privacy legislation that is broadly applicable to residents of these states giving these individuals rights over how their information is used. Now that individuals have these additional rights, the follow up inquiry is whether individuals care about these rights and whether they take advantage of exercising these rights. As part of its Cyber Security Report Series, Cisco released a study examining this question. Cisco’s Consumer Privacy Survey collected responses from 2600 participants in twelve countries, including the United States, and asked a variety of questions related to the respondent’s views on consumer privacy and how they exercise privacy decisions with respect to their personal information.
The Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey found that 86% of respondents answered that they cared about data privacy, but only 32% of respondents were classified as privacy actives. A privacy active includes an individual that answered that (1) they care about and want control over data privacy, (2) they are willing to act with respect to exercising their privacy rights by using additional monetary resources or considering it as a buying factor, and (3) they have exercised these rights. So while an overwhelming majority of consumers care about their data privacy only a portion of those individual act on such priorities.
Interestingly, while 86% of respondents answered that they cared about data privacy, care about protecting others, and / or they want more control over their data, only 46% of respondents answered that they are not able to effectively protect their data. By far, the largest reason named for this lack of effective protection was a lack of transparency with respect to understanding what data is collected and how it is used. This may account for the reduction in consumers being classified as privacy actives.
With respect whether individual exercise their legal privacy rights, only 25% of respondents indicated that they inquired about their data privacy right with 18% of that 25% being in the U.S. It’s difficult to unpack the significance of this number given that only a limited number of individuals have comprehensive data privacy rights, however, these numbers do indicate that the arc of consumer priorities is toward data privacy. These factors indicate that consumer privacy will continue to be a factor from a legal compliance and consumer relationship perspective.
 Cisco, Consumer Privacy Survey: https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/about/doing_business/trust-center/docs/cisco-cybersecurity-series-2021-cps.pdf