Business Law & Compliance

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Consumer mistrust undermines EU data protection law

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The European study found that 92 per cent of consumers in the UK say they now deal with so many organisations, both online and offline, that they no longer know who holds what information about them.

At the heart of the EU’s proposed data and privacy protection reforms is a belief that the protection of personal information is a fundamental right for all Europeans. Any organisation that fails to do its utmost to respect this right could face a fine of up to two per cent of its global turnover. 

Under the proposed changes to European law, consumers will be able to ask companies that hold information about them to remove it. 

However, 74 per cent in the UK are not convinced that the benefits of having their information deleted would be worth the bother of asking for it to be removed. A shocking 86 per cent don’t believe a company would honour the request anyway, even if the company assured them that their information had been deleted.

Furthermore, there is considerable confusion when it comes to the kind of information a person can ask to have removed. Most of those surveyed believe they would be entitled to ask for personal information (91 per cent), financial details (64 per cent) and email correspondence (54 per cent) to be deleted. However, less than half think their rights would extend to recorded telephone conversations (42 per cent) or social media posts (32 per cent). 

Some 45 per cent believe that information held on paper – such as letters or completed forms – would be covered by data protection laws, despite the fact that two thirds of respondents feel information on paper is easier to destroy than information held about them online.

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