Aussie Businesses Fail on Privacy

By Gerald Jimenez

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Are Aussie Businesses Failing on Privacy?

A recent report by Deloitte has unveiled that Australia’s major consumer brands are struggling to obtain consent for using their customers’ data, indicating a long-standing issue of consumer privacy. The study also highlights that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has intensified the focus on privacy concerns. The Deloitte Privacy Index 2020 examined the consent practices of the top 100 consumer brands in Australia across various sectors, revealing a significant disparity between consumer expectations and industry practices.

Key Findings

  1. Consent Practices:
    None of the top 100 consumer brands in Australia met best-practice guidelines for obtaining consent to use customers’ personal information. The report noted that consent practices across all sectors tested fell below 30%, reflecting an “industry-wide and regulatory immaturity” in this area.
  2. Sector Performance:
    Retail emerged as the best-performing sector in terms of consumer consent practices, while health and fitness, finance, and telecommunications and media ranked the lowest.
  3. Consumer Expectations:
    A mere 16% of brands provided consumers with the option to opt into marketing activities, while 83% of consumers expressed concern regarding internet cookies tracking their online activities for marketing purposes or selling data to third parties.
  4. Trust in Privacy:
    The report highlighted significant shifts in consumer trust in privacy across major sectors over the past six years. Financial services experienced the largest decline in trust, while the telecommunications and media sectors remained the least trusted overall.

The Role of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst, bringing consumer trust and privacy issues into sharp focus. The report emphasises that the crisis presents an opportunity for brands to enhance customer service and build trust in the digital economy through meaningful consent practices. The concept of care-driving voluntary participation, as seen in contact tracing apps, underscores the importance of trust between communities and institutions.

Implications for Brands: To establish and maintain trust in the digital economy, brands must seek meaningful consent that is explicitly requested and voluntarily given by consumers. Transparency, fair value exchange, and true voluntariness are crucial in the consent process. The surge in online activities due to the pandemic has led to increased concerns around personal privacy. Consumers are demanding more control over their data and expect complete information to make informed decisions.

The Deloitte Privacy Index 2020 highlights the deficiencies in obtaining consent from customers by Australia’s leading consumer brands. The report underscores the need for a power shift to empower consumers in controlling their data and being fully informed about its collection and usage. With the digital landscape becoming the new normal, it is imperative for brands to prioritize meaningful consent practices, build trust, and protect consumer privacy in order to navigate the evolving consumer landscape successfully.

If you like want help to improve privacy and data protection on your site then please contact us.

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