Consumers are becoming more active in protecting their privacy

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Almost a third of consumers have taken a more active role in protecting their privacy this year, including leaving organizations over their data practices or policies.

The 2021 Consumer Privacy Survey from Cisco has gathered results from 2,600 people across 12 countries and finds consumers are very concerned about the use of their personal data in AI decision-making, and their trust is at stake.

Privacy laws are regarded very positively around the world, although awareness of them remains relatively low in many countries. Most people want little or no reduction in privacy protections while supporting broad public health measures during the pandemic. 86 percent say that they care about their data and 79 percent say they are willing to act to protect it.

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However, only 54 percent of those surveyed thing they are effectively able to protect their personal data. Reasons why not include that it's too hard to work out what companies are doing with data (75 percent) and accepting that it's necessary to surrender data to access a service (47 percent).

Of those terminating their relationship with organizations over privacy fears, a third (33 percent) left social media companies and 28 percent left internet service providers (ISPs), but they also left other types of companies. 19 percent terminated a relationship with a retailer, 19 percent with a credit-card provider, and 18 percent with a bank or financial institution.

According to the findings 44 percent of those aged between 25 and 34 are active in defending their privacy, compared to 37 percent of 35 to 44s, declining to only 14 percent of those over 75.

The full results are available from the Cisco site.

The company is also publishing its New Trust Standard, a framework for assessing an organization's trustworthiness as they embrace digital transformation. This includes setting benchmarks for things including zero trust, regulatory compliance, data rights and transparency.

"Trust is more than a sentiment," says Anthony Grieco, Cisco's chief information security officer. "Digital businesses need the ability to verify the trust and resilience of its solutions, operations, and actions. This framework helps us understand the core pillars in a process that makes trust quantifiable."

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