Businesses should expect plenty of data privacy requests after GDPR comes into effect

Consumers will be able to request access to data that a company has on them and ask for it to be deleted.

Image credit: iStock
Image credit: iStock

Around 40% of consumers say they plan to make requests for personal information from the companies that hold their data, within six months of new general data protection regulations (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May.

Of those that intend to exercise their rights, two-thirds (65%) plan to request access to the personal data a company holds on them, while the majority (71%) intend to exercise their right to be forgotten under the new regulations.

The findings, in a study by Veritas Technologies, could mean thousands of organisations will find themselves being kept busy with such requests.

Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer, Veritas said: "In light of recent events surrounding the use of personal data by social media, and other, companies, consumers are taking much more of an interest in how their data is used and stored by businesses across many industry sectors." 

Under the new GDPR, European Union residents will have greater control over their personal data. Currently, EU residents already have the right to ask a company what personal data is held on them, including gender, age, location, sexual preference, religious beliefs and passport/driver’s licence information.

From 25 May 2018, they will also have more rights to ask to have their data deleted (the right to be forgotten). Businesses will be required to sufficiently respond within one month of receiving the request.

The study revealed consumers are most likely to target the following industries with personal data requests:

  • Financial services companies, including banks and insurance companies (56%)
  • Social media companies (48%)
  • Retailers (46%)
  • Former, current or potential employers (24%)
  • Healthcare providers (21%)

The results of the study are timely, as the public is increasingly aware of the amount of personal data companies are storing, in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica.

"With a flood of personal data requests coming their way in the months ahead, businesses must retain the trust of consumers by demonstrating they have comprehensive data governance strategies in place to achieve regulatory compliance," Palmer added. 

Some consumers have said that it will be a good opportunity for revenge, while 8% said they will exercise their data privacy rights simply to irritate a company that they feel has mistreated them.

 

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