Data Security Not a Major Digital Deterrent for Canadians, Report Reveals

Despite recent hacks and data breaches of government agencies and financial websites a new study from SAS reveals that overall concern is down among many consumers.

SAS’ latest research, a report titled “Mobility, Vulnerability and the State of Data Privacy,” shows that 63 percent of respondents say recent events like these have heightened their concerns, a drop from 69 percent in similar research from 2014.

In Canada, 64 percent of Canadian consumers report concern about what businesses do with their personal data. Similarly, 24 percent of respondents feel they have no control at all over what businesses do with their information, and only 13 percent optimistically believe they have total control.

Six in 10 consumers expressed qualms about data being collected via their smartphones or PCs. They worry far less about in-store technology and wearables, with less than half expressing concern about how personal information is recorded with these technologies.

Consumers place responsibility for their personal information squarely with the businesses collecting it. Unfortunately, the survey shows a clear perception that businesses aren’t keeping their end of the agreement. Nor do consumers feel businesses are forthcoming about their policies (and changes to those policies) on use of personal data.

The issue is complicated by the fact that most consumers do not take the opportunity to be more informed about businesses’ data practices or take more responsibility when it comes to protecting their privacy. Only 13 percent of Canadian respondents said that they are very likely to read the terms of agreement and privacy policies before they download new apps or software or make purchases. Most Canadians check the “I agree” box without ever clicking the link to the document we are consenting to.

The good news for businesses is that even with concerns about data security, a considerable number of Canadian consumers are willing to provide personal data, including their name, birth year, birth month, phone number, or email address, if it means they will get something tangible in return. With the exception of their home address, Canadian respondents are more willing than their US counterparts to share personal information in exchange for a lifetime discount.