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BizReport : Internet : February 07, 2013

Negative attitudes to data use breeding tomorrow's invisible consumers

More than two-thirds of Internet users across several countries would choose a "do not track" feature if it was readily available, according to new research from technology analysis firm Ovum.

by Helen Leggatt

images.jpgConsumers would much prefer to be 'invisible' and untraceable, found the survey of digital consumers across 11 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and South and Central America.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said a resounding "no" to Internet tracking and are increasingly motivated to find ways in which to cease sharing their data. The knock-on effect would be felt by digital industries including targeted advertising and data analysis.

"Unfortunately, in the gold rush that is big data, taking the supply of 'little data' - personal data - for granted seems to be an accident waiting to happen," said Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum. "However, consumers are being empowered with new tools and services to monitor, control, and secure their personal data as never before, and it seems they increasingly have the motivation to use them."

A new set of messages are needed to change consumers' attitudes, says Little. However, that could be an uphill struggle as just 14% believe that online companies are honest about their use of personal data.

"Most importantly, data controllers need a better feel for the approaching disruption to their supply lines, and must invest in tools that help them understand the profile of today's negatively-minded users - tomorrow's invisible consumers," said Little.

Tags: big data, consumer attitudes, data collection, online security, online tracking, personal details

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