UK Public Wants The ICO To Enforce GDPR To The Hilt

If BA and Marriott thought they were going to get a groundswell of opinion suggesting GBP183m and GBP99m fines are rather hefty fines for falling prey to cybercriminals' attacks, the airline and hotel brand are unlikely to find the latest YouGov research pleasing.

Far from wanting the ICO to give companies an easy ride, 71% want the authorities to go in tougher on companies that misuse or fail to protect consumers' personal information.

This research, featured in Mobile Marketing, was almost certainly done before the ICO announced massive fines for BA and Marriott, and so is not backing up or criticising the regulator there. Instead, I suspect if the more than 2,000 citizens surveyed were asked again, they would probably think it was about time a big name or two got fined. 

Let's be honest here -- Facebook was incredibly lucky that the Cambridge Analytica scandal happened before GDPR became law. If the new set of regulations were in place that GBP500,00 fine -- the maximum the ICO could issue at the time -- would have been in the multi-millions range, possibly even billions. 

You could say the same for a company like Talk Talk that had the same maximum fine levelled at it, but would today be facing a far stiffer penalty.

So BA suffered from a spot of bad luck, timings-wise and some code that wasn't as secure as it should have been.

The interesting part of the YouGov research, apart from the timing, is that it shows people's concerns over their personal information are very real.

The public probably became more aware of their rights with the introduction of the GDPR, but it cannot be overstated how shocked the person in the street was by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. There was always some suspicion that we were giving far too much away.

Three in four are concerned about how their personal information is gathered and then passed onto third parties. It means there is a growing confusion over who actually owns the data -- a quarter of us think we own our dat,a whereas a third think social media companies do. This means a third of people say they have already changed their privacy setting with companies, such as social media platforms, and an additional 11% intend to.

So, three in four people are concerned about their data being taken and shared. A very similar three in four of the public think the big tech companies have got away with many sins against privacy and want harsher action to be taken.

For brands that were hoping this rise of awareness around privacy would blow over, there are two things to consider. BA and Marriott have received massive fines and Google is under investigation. This concern is going nowhere. Secondly, the public want action taken on their behalf, and now the ICO has the teeth to truly bite transgressors. 

Everything is moving in favour of the people who are concerned about their data.

The direction this is headed is very much against brands that take risks with personal information and hope this whole GDPR furore thing will blow over.

It won't. It's just getting started. 

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