In a recent internal study we conducted here at K Sharp, we found that 73% of people admitted to not reading all the terms and conditions before downloading a mobile application.
In addition, a further piece of research found that 100% of people asked felt that all aspects of their life were personal when it came to sharing them online. So, what actually are the personal impacts of data sharing? When we download anything using a mobile device there will be terms and conditions outlining what personal information we are sharing. We share information about ourselves on a daily basis in ways we may not even consider; using our credit card to purchase things, using maps on our phone which enables location services, wearing a Fitbit or alternative, and even just browsing the internet.
People want the personal data they share to have a benefit for them. When organisations pass on our data, we expect them to only do so when it is necessary to meet the services that we are requiring, or for the benefit of society using it to stop crime and keep people safe. This is supported by some research carried out at the Columbia Business School who found that 80% of consumers will share a non-required piece of data for rewards points, and a majority will share data for more experiential benefits like product recommendations or a tool to help them with complex decisions. We also expect for it to be made clear to us how out data will be used, and who will have access to it and why. Columbia Business School also found that people are more likely to share data with a company that they already know and trust, in other words they are more willing to share their information with a brand if they already feel they have a rapport with them. Their research found that Amazon was a brand that had a high rate of people being willing to share their data with. Moving forward, whilst the idea of sharing our personal information can seem daunting it also has many benefits. For example, life insurance company Vitality gives its members benefits for tracking and sharing their daily activities.
Netflix monitors the shows we watch and then using certain algorithms can offer us recommendations on other shows we might enjoy. Looking further afield, allowing our information to be shared to third parties such as researchers can enhance the level of research being achieved. For example, Cancer Research UK say that data sharing allows them to get a number of variants in their participant groups which can allow them to explore more rare case studies from all around the world. Tips for sharing data Always read the terms and conditions. We know they are long, and can sometimes be a little confusing, but it is valuable to know what will be shared and why. Remember that what you share may affect others, for example pictures or videos that have other people in, and consider the impact of this.
Keep in mind that forever is a long time. Even if you delete something you have shared, it may still be uncovered in the future and could be seen by people such as future partners or employers. Don’t immediately be hesitant to share your data. As outlined above, data sharing can have vast benefits not just for you but for society as a whole too. Perhaps a bit farfetched, but location services and photos with landmarks can act as evidence that you were in a certain place at a certain time. They can also act as a nice reminder in future of what you were getting up to though!