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The Consumer Voice: Automated Decision Making and Cookie Consents proposed by “Data: A new direction

Which? research finds that consumers have strong views about some of the proposed changes to the UK’s data protection regime as set out in the ‘Data: A new direction’ consultation launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Which? undertook qualitative research using a deliberative approach to understand consumer views on some of the proposed changes to UK data protection law outlined in the consultation. The research focused on two areas: 

1) the use of AI to make solely automated decisions about us 

2) the use of cookies to gather data about consumers, and how consent for this is obtained.

Participants appreciated the use of AI when it helped them receive tailored suggestions, such as TV programme recommendations, but were more uncomfortable with automated decisions being made about them solely using AI, such as approval for financial products. After discussing the proposal to remove Article 22 of the UK GDPR, which gives individuals a right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, participants felt strongly that this should be retained. Participants could see no consumer benefit to removing the right to challenge.

Participants also discussed the use of cookies, and they felt it was important they had control over how their data is used. Almost all thought third party cookies that track and profile them should only be used with explicit consent. Participants also reflected on the range of alternative mechanisms for obtaining cookie consent set out in the consultation. The favoured approach overall was setting cookie preferences in your browser/device, with the cookie banner system ranking second.

Consumer views on ‘Data: A new direction- report 171 Kb | 19 Nov 2021