Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) has released its annual global Consumer Privacy Survey for 2023, shedding light on the perceptions and behaviors of consumers regarding data privacy. The survey indicates a growing trend among younger consumers who are actively taking steps to safeguard their personal data, emphasizing the importance of privacy in the digital age.
A notable finding from the survey is that younger consumers, aged 18-24, are at the forefront of protecting their data rights. An impressive 42% of consumers in this age group exercise their Data Subject Access Rights, a sharp contrast to the 6% of consumers aged 75 and older who do the same. This significant generational gap underscores the increasing concern for data privacy among younger demographics.
Artificial Intelligence and Privacy Concerns
The report highlights the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in consumers’ lives. Approximately 48% of survey respondents believe that AI can be a valuable tool in enhancing various aspects of life, from shopping to healthcare and entertainment. A majority, 54%, express their willingness to share anonymized personal data to contribute to the improvement of AI products and decision-making processes.
However, despite the potential benefits of AI, 62% of consumers expressed concerns about how organizations are currently utilizing their personal data for AI applications. A substantial 60% of respondents have lost trust in organizations due to their use of AI. To regain consumer trust and ensure responsible AI implementation, organizations are encouraged to take several measures, including conducting bias audits, increasing transparency, explaining how AI works, involving humans in the decision-making process, and establishing AI Ethics Management Programs.
Dev Stahlkopf, Cisco’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, emphasized the importance of approaching AI technology responsibly, stating, “The world is watching how companies will approach AI in a responsible way. For Cisco, this means keeping a keen focus on respecting privacy and human rights as we incorporate AI technology.”
Generative AI: The Privacy Contradiction
The survey also provides insights into the use of Generative AI (Gen AI), a relatively new concept for most people. Over half (52%) of the survey respondents stated that they were not aware of Gen AI. Among those who regularly use Gen AI (12%), only half indicated that they refrained from entering personal or confidential information into Gen AI applications. Notably, the remaining 50% appeared to be sharing personal or confidential data, despite 88% of respondents expressing concern about the potential sharing of their data entered into Gen AI applications.
Young Consumers Leading the Way in Data Privacy
This year’s survey revealed that 33% of respondents can be categorized as “Privacy Actives.” These individuals prioritize privacy, are willing to take action to protect it, and have already acted on their beliefs, such as switching companies or service providers due to data policies or data sharing practices. Younger consumers, aged 18-34, are particularly proactive in safeguarding their privacy, with 42% falling into the “Privacy Actives” category. This percentage gradually decreases with age.
Additionally, the survey highlighted an increase in the number of consumers requesting data deletions or changes, rising to 19% from 14% in the previous year. This trend is closely linked to age, with 32% of consumers aged 18-24 making such requests compared to only 4% of older consumers.
Role of Laws and Governments
The report also addresses consumer perceptions of the role of laws and governments in data protection. Half (50%) of respondents believe that national or local governments should play a primary role in safeguarding data, while 21% believe that private companies should assume this responsibility.
Harvey Jang, Cisco’s Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Chief Privacy Officer, underscored the importance of consumers taking action to protect their own privacy as governments enact privacy laws and companies work to build trust. Consumers are split on the value of data localization, with 76% initially considering it a positive concept. However, when factoring in the associated costs that could raise product and service prices, only 44% were in favor of data localization.
Cisco’s 2023 Consumer Privacy Survey offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of data privacy and the role of AI and Gen AI, emphasizing the need for organizations to adopt responsible AI practices and prioritize consumer trust.
This article was written by AI and edited by Bill Hartzer.