Age matters when it comes to personal data.
Young people are much more likely to share their data than any previous generation. A survey for the Open Data Institute found that one in five 18-24-year-olds would feel comfortable sharing their date of birth with a business, compared to just 8% of adults aged 45-54. And young people are five times more likely to trust social media platforms with their personal data than their parents.
As a generation, our young people are disproportionately affected by the abuse and misuse of data because they are more likely to share personal information. For their sake, it’s time to change.
Restoring trust and confidence
The introduction of GDPR on 25 May is the catalyst for a new era of responsible data use and respect. Those organisations that choose to be positive participants in this culture change will be helping to create better, safer, more caring data privacy practices for the next generation. Those that don’t will pay the price in lost trust and reputation. They’ll be the ones who got left behind because they carried on living in the past.
The UK’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, is among those who believes we’ve reached a turning point. “Those organisations that thrive under the new rules will see the GDPR as an opportunity to commit to data protection and embed it in their policies, processes and people,” she said. “Those that merely comply, that treat the GDPR as another box-ticking exercise, miss the point. Because this is about restoring trust and confidence.”
Shout louder on learning
For businesses, training employees on data protection must be about more than just compliance. It’s an opportunity to embed responsible data practices and behaviours that engender customer trust. This won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen with out a strategic plan and commitment to continuous learning and reinforcement on GDPR. But we need to shout louder.
In the rush to get data management systems ready for the big GDPR Day, employee learning and engagement has been low on the priority list. In fact, 80% of UK companies responding to a government survey on GDPR said they had yet to instigate extra workforce training. As the dust settles on the GDPR deadline, there’s a chance to move the focus from data systems and management to the skills, knowledge and behaviours of the people within the business who use and control the data.
We recently published a training guide to help organisations forge ahead with workplace learning on GDPR. The guide covers five steps to move businesses closer to implementing a continuous learning strategy that delivers long-term culture change on data protection and responsibility.
If we get it right now, we’ll be laying the foundations for a future where people feel safe to share their data and confident that their data rights are being protected. Research from organisations like the Open Data Institute suggest that our young people are prepared to accept trade-offs in sharing their personal data if it benefits them and the wider society. In this respect, they are more likely to reap the benefits of well-designed and ethical data practices.
GDPR is our chance to keep them safe and build a world of corporate responsibility and respect for data. And ultimately that’s got to be better for everyone.