August 3 – Fewer than one-third of consumer respondents (28 percent) thought that companies collecting data about them for marketing purposes use that information in an ethical manner. This is according to a new survey conducted by Kognitio, a global provider of business intelligence and data warehousing solutions.

The issue of data privacy has long been of key concern to consumers, and both their willingness to share some of that information as well as their limits are borne out in the Kognitio survey. More than two-thirds (69 percent) say they are willing to allow companies to collect some personal data, but want to limit the type of information collected, and don’t want the data shared with other firms. Only three percent of respondents indicated they would be comfortable with their data being shared if it makes their shopping experience better and more convenient.

While consumers understand that companies do analyze that data, 34 percent said they weren’t sure that the information is handled in an ethical manner, and 38 percent believed that the firms do not use the information ethically. These findings do not indicate that companies are using data unethically - merely that they need to do a better job communicating how the data is being used to enhance consumers’ shopping experience, which will help them to build a trustworthy relationship with their customers.

“The survey indicates that marketers must communicate with consumers more effectively, specifically spelling out for them how the information collected about them is being used,” said John K. Thompson, Kognitio’s CEO of North American Operations, in the announcement.

Conducted in July 2009 via social media including Twitter, more than 150 people responded to the survey.

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