UK IT Chiefs Believe GDPR Has Reduced Customer Trust After 5 Years, Warn of AI Relevance

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 07:48 am

Five years after the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new survey reveals that 66 percent of UK IT leaders believe the regulation has made customers less inclined to trust businesses with their personal information. The survey, conducted by Macro 4, also highlights that 44 percent of respondents feel the additional red tape created by GDPR has hindered digital transformation for many enterprises, while 18 percent are uncertain if their organizations are fully compliant.

The study further indicates that 62 percent of IT leaders find processing data subject access requests and other GDPR queries to be resource-intensive, with 72 percent stating that the transition to hybrid working has necessitated increased investment in GDPR compliance.

Looking ahead, 85 percent of the survey participants believe it would be simpler for UK businesses to maintain compliance with the existing GDPR rather than adopting the proposed Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDIB). However, 86 percent of respondents express concerns that the GDPR risks becoming irrelevant if it fails to adapt to new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as ChatGPT.

Regarding their current GDPR compliance, nearly one in five IT bosses (18 percent) either disagreed or were uncertain about the adequacy of their storage, processing, and use of personal information.

The survey, commissioned by Macro 4 to commemorate the GDPR’s five-year anniversary, polled 100 IT decision-makers. Here are five key findings from the research:

  1. The GDPR has heightened consumer wariness about how their personal information is managed.
  • 66 percent of IT leaders believe that GDPR has increased customer awareness regarding data protection, making them less willing to trust businesses.
  • Media coverage of major data privacy breaches and notable GDPR non-compliance fines might have contributed to the erosion of trust.
  • Organizations must work harder to demonstrate compliance and gain consumer trust.
  1. Hybrid working has necessitated greater investment in GDPR compliance.
  • 72 percent of IT decision-makers reported increased resource allocation to ensure GDPR compliance due to the rise of hybrid working.
  • The challenge lies in securely sharing personal data among authorized employees, both on-site and remotely.
  • Processes and systems should facilitate adherence to GDPR rules, ensuring secure sharing and access controls for sensitive information.
  1. IT leaders have reservations about the proposed Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.
  • 85 percent believe it would be easier to maintain GDPR requirements rather than adopt a separate set of post-Brexit regulations.
  • Complexity and uncertainties surrounding compliance and potential dual standards for UK-EU operations contribute to this sentiment.
  1. The GDPR must evolve to accommodate AI technologies.
  • 86 percent of IT leaders assert that GDPR needs updating to keep pace with emerging AI technologies, such as ChatGPT.
  • Regulators should establish guidelines and rules on AI usage to maintain GDPR compliance.
  1. GDPR implementation poses resource challenges and hampers digital transformation.
  • 44 percent of IT leaders claim that GDPR’s additional administrative requirements have impeded digital transformation initiatives.
  • 62 percent find data subject access requests and other GDPR queries to be resource-intensive, even though 83 percent have robust processes for handling customer requests.

Jim Allum, Director of Commercial and Technical at Macro 4, stressed the importance for organizations to work diligently to manage data within GDPR regulations and address customer concerns. The survey findings indicate the need for streamlined processes, especially with the rise of hybrid working and the accelerated digital shift brought about by the pandemic.

The study offers valuable insights into the current state of GDPR compliance among UK organizations and underscores the challenges and opportunities posed by evolving technologies and regulations.

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