Seven in 10 Irish people feel uncomfortable sharing personal data

Social media companies least trusted online entities according to Compliance Institute poll
Photo via ThisIsEngineering from Pexels Copy

13 March 2023

Most Irish people (70%) feel some level of discomfort around giving their personal information away to product and service providers. Of this group, half say it makes them anxious to do so, while the other half say they are very guarded and will not give personal data away unless they “absolutely have to do so”.

Additional key outputs of Compliance Ireland’s ESG Consumer Survey revealed that women are much more troubled by handing over their personal data than men at 77% vs. 64%. Three times as many men than women don’t give it a second thought (16% v 5%).

Almost half of people aged 55 and over (49%) are rated as ‘extremely hesitant’ to share details about themselves unless absolutely necessary, compared with just a quarter of people aged 25 to 34.




“The large volume of people expressing their reluctance to providing personal information is most likely a consequence of the many data leaks and breaches that have been given prominence in recent Irish news stories,” said Michael Kavanagh, CEO of the Compliance Institute.

“The younger generation have less reservations around providers accessing personal data, which is perhaps understandable given that they have grown up in an online world whereas the older generation are extremely hesitant to share details about themselves unless absolutely necessary.”

The Compliance Institute survey shone a light on the huge mistrust that exists amongst the general public around social media companies. These giants of the digital world topped the poll as the least trusted entities when it comes to guarding the personal information of users, with six in ten (56%) people regarding them as the most untrustworthy. Those aged 18-24 were significantly more likely to feel this way at 74%.

Online retailers came in second place with almost one in five (18%) saying they would be least likely to trust these businesses with their personal information.

Kavanagh added: “Social media platforms such as Facebook and Tik-Tok have exploded in recent years with a huge amount of people, both young and old, sharing personal details and minute-by-minute updates of their lives with their world of followers which results in a large volume of personal data being in the hands of social media companies. From a GDPR perspective, information is considered personal when it can identify an individual either directly or indirectly.”

The survey also found that 12% of participants said they are least likely to trust government agencies such as HSE, Dept of Social Protection, Revenue Commissioners etc. with their personal data.

Over one in five of those who view government agencies as the least trustworthy with their data were aged between 25 and 34, 7% claim they don’t trust banks with their data.

Telecoms providers such as mobile phone or broadband providers as well as, utility providers such as gas and electricity providers came in lowest at 4% and 2% respectively meaning, people tend to trust these entities the most with their information.

“Cybercriminals are either keeping pace with, or advancing ahead of, the cyber-security measures being put in place and people are acutely aware of the menacing risk of identity theft being on the rise,” said Kavanagh.

“Product and service providers collect a vast array of information on people, and even if one piece of data alone doesn’t identify someone, when paired alongside other pieces of data, a person’s identity can quickly become known.”

TechCentral Reporters

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