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(© Pedro Nunes/iStockphoto)
(© Pedro Nunes/iStockphoto)

Give consumers choice, control on personal data, advertisers urged Add to ...

Canadians are worried about their personal privacy, and marketers should take action to ensure they are gathering and using information about them responsibly.

That is the conclusion of a new report from Advertising Standards Canada – a finding that seems like common sense, but also takes the pulse of the Canadian consumer at a time when the hunt for more detailed consumer data has never been more intense. The self-regulatory group, which oversees the advertising industry, partnered with MacLaren McCann for the research. It surveyed 1,000 Canadians online and conducted six focus groups in Toronto and Montreal.

As part of the report, the group is recommending a four-step process for building trust with consumers. These four elements are control (ensuring people know what will happen to their information); choice (allowing people to choose what information to hold back from marketers); commitment (making people aware of privacy and security policies); and compensation (helping people understand “what’s in it for me” if they share information.)

Here are some of the findings that came out of the research:

  • 89 per cent – agreed with the statement, “people share far too much personal information online these days”
  • 72 per cent – responded that they are worried about the erosion of personal privacy, roughly on par with the number who are concerned about the global financial crisis (73 per cent) and climate change (71 per cent)
  • 73 per cent – said they are aware that businesses are tracking people’s activities on the Web to understand their interests

Not all privacy is created equal: Canadians are more hesitant to share some details about themselves than others.

  • 17 per cent – said they would hand over financial information (bank or credit card details, e.g.) in exchange for perks from a business
  • 27 per cent – said they are willing to share medical data
  • 53 per cent – said they are willing to share their location, through check-in programs
  • 79 per cent – said they are willing to share shopping information, e.g. where they shop and what they tend to buy
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