It’s become a mainstream business activity: According to a recent Accenture survey of nearly 600 businesses in seven countries, 8 out of 10 companies collect personal data directly from individuals (for example, through online accounts). Nearly half of the companies polled use a commercial or data-sharing agreement with another party, while a third collect information through connected devices.*
And why not? Through the strategic use of this information, companies in all industries can deliver better customer experiences, develop more innovative products and services, and find new markets.
But routine though the practice has become, consumer concerns about how that data is being used are becoming equally prevalent. On top of their mounting data security and privacy concerns, consumers are also starting to feel that they are not getting their fair share of benefits from the use of their data.
A survey by telecommunications company Orange reported that two-thirds of European consumers believe organizations benefit more than they do from the personal data they share. Only 6 percent see themselves as the main beneficiary. Some individual activists have taken the matter into their own hands. For example, a Dutch student, Shawn Buckles, auctioned his personal data—including medical records, browsing history and consumer preferences—to the highest bidder, earning himself €350. Federico Zannier, an Italian student at New York University, tracked and mined his own data to launch a project on Kickstarter that raised $2,700.
* The countries in the survey: The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, India, France and China.