If personal data is the new currency of the digital economy, who pays the bill?

On the eve of the application in all EU countries of the new European regulation GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), PHD Italy presented research, ‘The unbearable lightness of the data’, charting Italians and their attitude towards personal data, their protection and their value.

“The technology uses the data apparently without effort, without leaving traces, with lightness, but this silent work of the machines is changing everything and to face marketing and communication without understanding the centrality of the data is, today and tomorrow, unsustainable,” comments Alessandro Lacovara, MD of PHD Italy. “In the near future, thanks to the collection, analysis and use of complex data, it will be possible to anticipate needs and desires. And brands, as already underlined by PHD with ‘Merge: The closing gap between technology and us’, will have to focus on gaining consumer confidence regarding the management of personal data, on which their future failure or success will depend.”

Six out of ten Italians (62%) say they are worried about online privacy and almost seven in ten (67%) say that the concern, compared to the past, has increased significantly. Concern that, in the period immediately following the Cambridge Analytica scandal (the research was carried out in two phases, before and after), for 57% of the sample also surrounds the improper use of personal data to manipulate democracy.

From saying to doing…

One element seems to be common to Italians: knowledge and awareness on the topic do not necessarily translate into the adoption of behaviours useful for containing risks. If 62% say they are “worried”, in fact, only 50% call themselves ‘careful’ to protect their online privacy. 39% of the sample confesses that sharing personal information on the network frightens them, but a similar percentage (38%), when they approve the processing of personal data, says they click on ‘allow’ by reading quickly or not reading at all (and the percentage among the youngest, between 18 and 24 years old, rises to 43%).

How much is the data worth?

Concerns aside, seven out of ten Italians (71%) declare themselves aware of the commercial value of their personal data, 47% (58% in over 45s) agree in the definition of ‘exchange currency for free content on the web’. Sixty-five per cent of Italians are in favour of consenting to access their personal data in exchange for ‘solutions that save money’.

But what are Italians willing to reveal in pursuit of savings? Eating habits were the top reveal (50%), those relating to purchases (48%), leisure (48%) and cultural consumption (46%). Only 17% of Italians, on the other hand, are willing to reveal their financial habits, and least keen to reveal were their sexual habits (10%).

Among the brands that would more willingly entrust information in exchange for an advantage are Amazon (58%; and among the youngest, 65%), which surpasses all other technological giants; Google 47%, Microsoft 39%, Apple 36%, Facebook 33% (the latter down by only 3 points, to 30%, in the survey carried out after the Cambridge Analytica scandal).

We all have a price?

To the question “How would you like to be rewarded for sharing your habits?” The majority of respondents (62% of the sample) choose as an answer ‘with money’. One in five would agree to be monitored for €50 per month, but for information on sexual habits or medical and health information they would ask for more than €100 per month.

For the full article and research, click here. The article was published in PubblicitaItalia.it