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NEWS25 February 2014

41% do not trust market research companies with their data

News North America UK

UK/US — A survey of UK and US citizens suggests that 41% do not trust market research companies with their data.

People appear to be more trusting of search engines, mobile phone companies and even national security agencies – despite the widespread criticism of the NSA’s digital eavesdropping programme.

Research firms, however, do rank higher than social networks like Twitter and Facebook. 53% of those surveyed say they do not trust social media companies at all.

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The survey, conducted 6-9 February by Research Now on behalf of the Global Research Business Network, also asked participants to state whether they thought certain types of information were ‘personal data’, or ‘sensitive personal data’.

National Insurance numbers and health records were considered by 78% and 74% to be sensitive data, while 49% said the same for IP and MAC addresses, and home addresses.

46% also thought that mobile phone location data was ‘sensitive’, though only 20% used the term to describe their web browsing history. Meanwhile, only 14% thought posts on social media sites were sensitive data – however 46% did classify social media posts as personal data.

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The Global Research Business Network is a grouping of 38 research associations, including CASRO in the US and MRS in the UK. Jeffrey Resnick, 2012 Board Chair of CASRO, said: “Sensitivity of personal data is a big issue for consumers. This research shows that there is a high level of distrust from consumers about how their personal data is used. 

“As they hear more about data security breaches and develop a fuller understanding of the implications of the technology they are using, this concern is only going to grow. Governments and businesses cannot afford to stick their heads in the sand and hope it goes away – it won’t.”

MRS CEO Jane Frost added: “The report is a wake-up call for companies to commit to ethical data use or risk jeopardising relationships with their customers. It is time for organisations to take a serious look at data security in a more rounded context. It needs to be a corporate responsibility, not just delegated to IT.”

@RESEARCH LIVE

7 Comments

4 years ago

I wonder how much of this mistrust is caused by companies that are perceived to be marketing research companies but actually are not - telemarketers, political marketing, product marketing.

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4 years ago

I don't see any description of the methodology used to collect the data. Was it based on an access panel sample, with data collected online, or, was it based samples drawn from representative samples of the UK/USA populations? The method could have influenced the results, but without the technical details it's difficulkt to know. I also agree with Annie's comment.

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4 years ago

I thought the GRBN was a grouping of Associations of Associations. It is not a collection of individual country associations. It is a collection of Efamro, ARIA, etc. isn't it? I saw that presentation at the IIeX. Very interesting.

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4 years ago

Based on an original study conducted in Finland by CBI Cannon Business Insight, this research was conducted online between the 6th and 9th of February 2014 by Research Now and includes data from 1020 UK interviews and 1015 US interviews (weighted to be representative of the population aged 18+ in each country).

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4 years ago

In the world of 'today', it matters little whether there is a rational reason for this mistrust, or an irrational reason. People are responding that they mistrust research. The real question is how to counter that mistrust. Or as the world of Big Data joins ever closer with the world of Analytics, are we destined to have an ever-fearful consumer? It may be that we have to live through these times of mistrust until a new generation emerges, say in 5-10 years. This generation will be the generation of 'Selfies,' comfortable with everything known about them.

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4 years ago

Oh this is a great topic. It has so many dimensions...definitely Annie is right when she says people think market researchers are telemarketers but these days everyone is a market researcher including our clients..And if they aren't, they are either a psychologist or dietician. I am going to become an electrician. There aren’t any! Not even the ones with blue overalls and an electrician badge if the light connection in my front hall is anything to go by. Notwithstanding such cynicism, I believe the question would yield more useful information framed as “who do you feel least comfortable about having your information (specify what exactly)?” as I don't think people would want regular visits from American intelligence because they bought some product that could be also used for certain nefarious acts e.g. sugar. However, insofar as this discussion is concerned, I would also like to share some data with you based on a national survey we recently conducted in Australia on more than 5000 respondents which shows when it comes to trust, the government has a lot more to worry about than market research companies. For example, only 11% of people believed we could trust the government to do the right thing as far as coal seam gas was concerned. Almost two thirds, 63%, believe governments spend most of their time trying to hide the truth from people. This may be as a result of their business dealings because a whopping 75% of those surveyed also believe most politicians are more concerned with corporate interests than they are with the people who elected them. So market research I expect, as largely a servant of business, will have to find a way to get out from under that “kneecapper” some time soon. (http://www.checkmateanalytics.com/trust-in-government-plummets)

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4 years ago

I even don't trust the the finding "41% do not trust market research companies with their data" when looking at the graph with those strange consolidated answering categories Trust (6-7), Trust somewhat/don't know and Do not trust at all (1-2).

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