EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
HOW COULD ‘ DATA MISTRUST ’ IN EUROPE COMPROMISE TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN CHANGE AND HOW SHOULD ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS ACCORDINGLY ?
Two-thirds ( 66 %) of European consumers do not know who has access to their personal data and how it ’ s used . Yet , the majority still have an appetite for digital advancement , with 58 % believing that technology can contribute to the digital progress of their country by creating new jobs and livelihoods , and 68 % wanting investment in technological innovation to make our world a better place – compared to the 6 %, for example , who want it to commercialise things like space tourism .
This clear gap between the digital appetite of consumers and their confidence in how their data is used to create such services and experiences could undermine technology ’ s potential to improve our economies , society and planet , reveals a new study of over 6,000 consumers across Europe by VMware . While 47 % of people acknowledge the introduction of new technologies that push new frontiers can be uncomfortable / scary , they still believe it is necessary to improving the well-being of citizens and society – just 16 % do not .
Yet the research findings also reveal the significant steps government and industry need to take to ensure consumers are fully onboard with their role in sharing data to drive the possibilities of a digital-first world . The majority ( 58 %) of the public are increasingly concerned about the security of their online digital footprints and almost three-quarters ( 72 %) are worried about the role technology plays in the spread of misinformation , while 48 % now feel paranoid that organisations are tracking and recording what they do on devices . On top of this , just 10 % of consumers feel businesses and governments are clear enough on the technologies they use and how they use them .
“ We ’ ve reached a decisive moment in how technology innovation and digital experiences can positively shape our lives , economies , society and planet ,” said Joe Baguley , VP & CTO EMEA , VMware . “ But there is a lack of awareness about the type of data needed to drive this progress and consumers are rightly feeling mistrustful . Most people ’ s only real understanding of data is when a security breach story hits the headlines – and not all the incredible things we can do in medicine , with autonomous vehicles , in mobile entertainment , shopping and society . Right now , the perceived price of progress is too high – consumers are not yet fully on-board with sharing the data required to fuel change . For consumers to embrace this , they must know what happens to their data – the majority of which isn ’ t personally identifiable to them – and feel confident it is being handled securely and sensitively .”
As is stands , mistrust of data has reached a point where it ’ s impeding support for technology ’ s potential to act as a force for good . Over half ( 60 %) of consumers are scared or uncomfortable sharing their personal day-today data to help governments and companies design smarter and greener infrastructure . And less than a fifth ( 17 %) are excited at the prospect of a digital shadow of the town / city they live in that could improve the efficiency of their physical surroundings .
“ According to the European Commission , unlocking the value of data could be worth € 550 billion to the EU by 2025 ,” continued Baguley . “ But we in the industry and government must take an active role in helping consumers become more aware and confident about data , so we can collectively help boost digital economies .”
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