Data privacy has been a hot topic in 2018 so far, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal making global news and a change in privacy laws through GDPR coming into play in May.
We asked 47 of our Tribes to tell us how they felt about data privacy, how much they worry about it, what steps they take to protect themselves and whether their opinion has changed in light recent events.
“I care about my personal data, it’s scary how easy people can access so much information and even use it in a negative light.” – Female, 19
How Concerned are they about data privacy
The vast majority of the community said data privacy was something they are concerned about, they believe that although it’s unavoidable for their information to be collected, it’s information about them, so it should belong to them. This is not to say they believe it’s all bad for companies to have their data, they understand it can be beneficial to them if it’s used in what they see as ‘the right way’.
Of the 11% who say they aren’t concerned about data privacy, they say they would prefer if their information stayed private, but they understand they are getting something in return – e.g. free use of social media platforms – and are happy for this exchange to take place.
“Of course I care about my data. It’s mine and I think it’s important for data to be used correctly” – Female, 22
“I guess when you sign something your data maybe compromised, I mean let’s be serious… Do you think an App or service is free? I feel the same about Facebook, it is a nice App and that’s it! I feel the same way about any App, I just try to be realistic” – Male, 24, Aspirant, Solo:Selective
“I definitely care about data privacy. I’m not someone who is against companies holding *any* of my personal information, but feel that it should only happen when absolutely necessary, and if the ways in which it will be used have been made explicit to the user. For example, if my laptop storing specific information can make it easier to log into sites, great! If a website is taking information gathered elsewhere and using it to target me without me knowing it, not great!” – Female, 20, Leading Edge, Short:Snaps
“For me, Data Privacy is something that is important and something that I care about, as at the end of the day it is my data and my information and I want to be in control over where my data goes and who can see it.” – Male, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
#1 Police what they post –The vast majority of the community said that along with the company who is taking their data, they have a responsibility to make sure they are not posting too much personal information. They try to limit the types of information, pictures and videos they post on social media sites, and only give their data to sites they trust.
#2 Update their passwords & privacy settings – Whether they worried about data privacy or not, the vast majority of the community try and control their data as best they can. The majority mentioned they regularly change their passwords, set their social media accounts to the highest privacy settings, and will only friend/follow people they know.
#3 Use privacy software – Several members of the community said they proactively try to avoid giving their data away the best they can.They use incognito mode browsers so their browsing history isn’t saved, use specific services that explicitly state they won’t use personal data, use ad blockers and unsubscribe/remove themselves to as many newsletters or databases as they can.
“I limit what I send (text and pictures) and being highly selective with what sites I use my bank deets on. I also put a sticker over my camera in case they are watching!” – Female, 20
“To protect my personal data I use services which say they protect data like DuckDuckGo as well as encrypted messaging services. I value my data and how private I keep it and I’d only share my data if I felt comfortable sharing it” – Male, 20, Aspirant, Short:Snaps
“Data privacy is something I care about. I only share data with a few sites, which are providing me a service i.e. buying something online. For this, I use a password with multiple cases, numbers and symbols. If a site I don’t trust, or know, asks me for details, then I leave that site. I also do a lot of shopping and online booking in incognito mode, which is a (albeit small) way of having better data privacy i.e. companies don’t remember your search history, so they are less likely to be able to track your location.” – Female, 21
“I’ll only put something online if I’m happy for the entire world to know about it. If I ever input data on a website, I make sure the site is using an SSL certificate so the data is encrypted. I’m not trying to stay off the grid or anything like that, I’m not that important so my personal information doesn’t have any more worth than 99% of people, I just want to make sure only companies I trust have access to my data.” – 17, Leading Edge, VOD:Binger
Tribes understand that companies will hold some data on them, and they are not totally against it. They want to give as little information away as possible, and only data that will improve their experience as a user (e.g. saving their password , delivery address, & in some cases information for personalised adverts). They also only want to give their information to brands and services they know and trust, and will actively avoid giving their information to brands they don’t.
The community feel there is an ‘ethical line’ that brands must not cross when it comes to their personal data. They want brands to be clear to them what data they are holding, and how they are using it. If a brand collects or uses their data ‘without them knowing’ for something that doesn’t benefit them as a consumer (selling their data to a third party to target, for example), they lose trust and may try and avoid it in the future.
“Knowing that companies are attempting to influence your lives by secretly gathering information about you in any way is extremely uncomfortable – I feel that there is a line between habit-based recommendations and targeted marketing based on data gathered through other apps, sites and even cameras or microphones.” – Female, 20, Leading Edge, Short:Snaps
“I know that targeted ads exist and if its like a clothing brand or something I don’t really care, in fact I appreciate it because it is normally something I am interested in but I think there is a line that needs to be drawn” – Female, 18, Aspirant, VOD:Bingers
“when companies ask if they can share my details with ‘carefully selected third parties’ I always select No. I don’t want my information and data shared with anyone other than who I give it to.” – Female, 20
“They’re making money out of data about me, and I’m losing out on my privacy and on the money being made off of me! Generally I just don’t share massive amounts online.” – Female, 17, Mainstream, Pop:Socials
“I worry about my bank details being harvested. I don’t like the idea that companies know everything I have ever done, have records of every private message. I don’t like the idea that someone could access records to blackmail me or impersonate me..” – Male, 22, Alternative, VOD:Bingers
Two-thirds of the community said the Cambridge Analytica expose changed how they felt about data privacy and Facebook, and mentioned how frightening it was when they read how much information Facebook had on them. They said felt that they were being spied on, and Facebook and Cambridge Analytica had definitely cross the ‘ethical line’.
Of those who said it hasn’t changed their opinion, a quarter of them said it’s because they didn’t trust them in the first place, with the rest saying it’s just what they expect when they use these apps and services.
“It is supposed to be a social media platform but has turned into something a little more sinister in the way its using peoples info for targeted ads, political influence etc.” – Female, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
“It has definitely made me more aware of the consequences a lack of privacy can have, but I’ve always been careful about what goes online. As for Facebook, I’ve never liked it. I can’t be found on there and I keep well away.” – 17, Leading Edge, VOD:Bingers
“I know that Facebook has major flaws and always has bad cases linked to it, so everyone should always be super careful – so even after hearing this happened, it doesn’t surprise me or change my views really.” – Female. 23 Alternative, Pop:Socials
“Cambridge Analytica has changed how I feel about data privacy and how easy it is for companies and people to get hold of such important personal information. No matter how hard we individually try to protect our personal information there are companies out there not doing enough to protect our information we share to them.” – Female, 18, Mainstream, Pop:Socials
“It is awful to think that my entire profile containing personal information could be used by an unknown organisation to non-consensually harvest my data and manipulate content to spew propaganda. It’s also disturbing to think that my details could be passed from one [organisation] to the other – each having different agendas. The Cambridge Analytica scandal was particularly appalling because it brings into question the legitimacy of our so-called democracy. I’ve since deleted FB and Instagram.” – Female, 20
Overall, data privacy is a concern for the vast majority of our Tribes, they are fully aware with the type information that is held on them – particularly after the Cambridge Analytica expose – and worry about how it could be used.
Despite altering their online behaviour to make sure they are protecting themselves as best they can, they understand that it is almost impossible to avoid giving their information away. Having said this, the Tribes aren’t totally against brands holding information on them, as long as they are clear with what they are holding, and use it in a way that benefits their experience as a consumer.
Despite being pretty aware their information was being collected, the Camridge Analytica scandal changed the way the majority of our Tribes thought about data privacy, and eroded a lot of trust they had in online services – particularly Facebook – which for some, was already low