Privacy and security are definitely at the forefront of consumers’ minds in today’s digital era. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal is the most obvious and public case of a business misusing personal data, which has brought this issue to the forefront. Brands need to be cognizant of consumers’ feelings about the security of their personal information and online behaviors.


Consumers are very concerned about the extent of personal information companies may have access to, and what they do with that information. New research from EXPRESSVPN found that 71% of U.S. consumers worry about how brands collect and use their personal data, and 34% don’t trust tech companies with their digital privacy. When surveyed, Amazon was the most-trusted technology company at 30%, followed by Google (27%), Apple (22%), Microsoft (22%) and Facebook (19%). The least trusted were Uber (5%), Snapchat (6%) and Twitter (8%), who recently announced an updated privacy policy.


Almost 70% of American adults report using at least one social media platform, according to a study by Pew Research. Of those users, only 9% are “very confident” that social media companies would protect their data. About 50% were not at all or not very confident their data is in safe hands. Another study had similar findings, with 73% of Americans stating they believe it is likely that social media companies collect and sell their data, an increase of 24% since 2014.


Perhaps you remember the 1995 film, The Net. It was labeled a cyber-thriller, and Sandra Bullock’s character had her identity stolen. This seemed futuristic and unfathomable…in 1995. Now, the online privacy threats that Americans are most concerned about include having personal data stolen (86%), identity theft (85%) —up 10% since 2016, and downloading a virus (84%).


GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into effect May 25th, which brings new laws covering how businesses collect, store and use consumer data. According to a new study, 88% of consumers cite transparency as one of the keys to further increase their trust in how their data is collected and used. Consumers are optimistic that GDPR will force businesses to be more honest, which will be essential if businesses are hoping to establish and maintain trust between businesses and consumers.