GDPR: 34% of Brits will exercise the right to be forgotten

20 Feb 2018  |  Scarlett O'Donoghue 
GDPR: 34% of Brits will exercise the right to be forgotten

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to completely change how brands, agencies and adtech businesses are allowed to use consumers' personal data and track online behaviour, potentially causing havoc with the data-driven marketing techniques many businesses currently employ.

Part of the regulation will give consumers the ‘right to be forgotten’, and the penalties for breaching the regulations are severe – up to 10 million Euros, or 2% of the company's global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever is higher.

Now, new research has revealed the scale of the headache facing brands: over a third (34%) of Brits say they plan to exercise their right to be forgotten, according to new findings from the7stars.

The research highlights the concerns around data protection among the British public, with only one in five confident their personal data is used in the best possible way by businesses.

"With ‘Implementation Day’ now less than 100 days away, time is running out fast for brands, advertisers and marketers to get their data ducks in a row," said Frances Revel, associate director at the7stars.

"Given the importance of data to business operations, the fact that over a third of people are looking to exercise their right to be forgotten represents a real threat that cannot be ignored.

"However, there is still time for Government and brands to come together to tackle consumer concerns around data protection and privacy head on, and the brands who get this right stand to gain the most."

The news comes as big name brands mull over the administrative headaches that GDPR is likely to inflict.

Jaguar Land Rover's CMO Dominic Chambers said recently that the automotive business, with an eighty-year history, would find dealing with some aspects of the regulation difficult because of pre-digital business infrastructure, signalling problems for other older brands.

"Being a legacy business, we have many old systems across Europe that are difficult to talk to,” he said. “There’s going to be a manual process if someone asks to be forgotten. That’s not going to be easy – and it’s certainly not going to be automated."

Despite the challenges, Chambers said he saw the regulation as a force for good.

“I think GDPR will force all marketers to up their game and be more professional. It will also ensure we’re not spamming and pissing people off,” he said.

“The most important thing to us is our customer data and ensuring it is accurate and we have the relevant permissions. It’s the number one priority.”

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