Consumers have a lack of understanding and an inherent distrust in how their data is being used, and companies need to rethink their approach to data privacy in order to spur innovation, according to a new study sponsored by Intel.

As part of the research, 2,108 adults in the U.S. were surveyed online by Harris Poll on behalf of Intel in September 2014. A majority of respondents (84 percent) thinks some kind of data about them or from their devices is being collected and sold to third parties. Nearly two-thirds of mobile and computing device owners in the survey admit they have no idea who has access to data from their devices or how it is used.

Furthermore, half of those surveyed are unable to correctly identify the definition of “anonymized” data, which Intel says underscores that consumers lack awareness of how their data can be protected.

When given a specific benefit of sharing their data, survey respondents showed a significant willingness to share data in areas such as education and healthcare if the data were anonymized. Millennial (ages 18-34) device owners are more inclined than their older counterparts to share data when there’s a direct benefit.

When considering emerging technologies, 45 percent of those surveyed say they’re more concerned about privacy for wearable devices than they are about privacy for smartphones, tablets and PCs. Device owners show a willingness to explore privacy-related technologies, with more than half saying they would consider buying an app or service that allows them to choose what type of data their devices are automatically sharing and with which companies.

The potential to unlock “revolutionary discoveries” is at stake, and companies need to be more transparent and accountable when collecting and using consumer data, according to Malcolm Harkins, vice president and chief security and privacy officer at Intel.

“Innovation will be hindered due to an underlying mistrust among people about what businesses know about them and how they’re using that information,” Harkins said in a statement. “If we want to spur innovation and realize the true potential of big data to solve the world’s greatest challenges, technology leaders and organizations have to assume responsibility for establishing transparent business practices, designing privacy-enhancing technologies, and encouraging legislation that helps instill trust.”

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