How Much Consumers Value Transparent Privacy Practices

If public sentiment is any indication, the California Consumer Privacy Act will be the first of a number of privacy laws to hit the US. That’s per a recent report by customer data platform Tealium, which found in a survey of 1,000 consumers that 91% of respondents want state or federal government to enact stricter privacy regulations. That is a striking consensus in a highly polarized political environment.

With Congress perpetually mired in gridlock, the privacy movement, which appears to enjoy wide public support, is likely to advance state by state, with blue states like California taking the lead. The complexity of a fractured, state-by-state mosaic of privacy legislation will make a whole industry of compliance, with brands scrambling to secure compliance services and privacy leaders emerging to meet a rapidly growing need, Neil Sweeney, founder and CEO of Freckle IoT and privacy solution Killi, told Street Fight.

Potential legal troubles and CCPA’s enforceability weaknesses aside, the Tealium study suggests a strong record on privacy will be a boon to brands as privacy increasingly takes center stage in the public consciousness. Ninety-seven percent of consumers said they are at least somewhat concerned about data privacy, and 85% said they won’t forgive a company’s misuse of their data.

Brands can demonstrate their seriousness about privacy by offering privacy policies that are actually comprehensible and articulating the benefits of data collection for the consumers from whom they intend to extract information. Forty-three percent of consumers said they are willing to exchange data for discounts. Seventy-two percent said they would be more likely to read privacy policies if they were shorter.

“While all data privacy acts have their differences, they point to the same truth — we must manage customer data the way our customers would expect us to manage it. That means keeping it organized, accessible and protected, and using it to provide value back to the consumer,” said Jeff Lunsford, CEO of Tealium.

Due to the sheer number of companies monetizing reams of consumer data and the limited resources of the California attorney general’s office, it may be years before companies in violation of the law face charges for CCPA infractions. But other laws will emerge to force the issue. And even before legal action makes its mark, the Tealium study tells us that bad press on privacy, especially data breaches, will undermine the bottom line.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.