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Control, Alt or Delete? The Future of Consumer Data

Digitisation is remodelling consumer markets, and the use of data about our consumer lives has already brought huge benefits and great potential for empowerment. However many people feel powerless to understand either the growing commercial observation or its effects.

Our mission at Which? is to make consumers as powerful as the organisations they deal with in their everyday lives, but those organisations are now processing unprecedented amounts of consumer data. Whilst consumers recognise and value the benefits that can come from the application of personal data, we found a widespread sense of disempowerment, with many people unsure of either the impact that data use has on them or whether it is even worth trying to take any action about practices that concern them.

The aim of our work in this area has been to understand how far consumers may require further support to rebalance power over use of their data. We also partnered with the research agency BritainThinks to conduct major new primary research. We have published a full research report and a digital dashboard reporting the results of a new segmentation of the UK population’s data attitudes and behaviours here: consumerinsight.which.co.uk/data-dozen

The report sets out three recommendations:

  • Consumers and their advocates need more transparency about the impact that personal data has on their lives.
  • It is time for a thoroughgoing review of governance of data in motion, with due attention given to creative ways to improve oversight and enforcement.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should conduct a market study in to the digital advertising industry as a matter of urgency.
Control, Alt or Delete? The Future of Consumer Data 789 Kb | 05 Jun 2018