A huge gap has emerged between consumers in the UK and continental Europe over the way they rate data privacy and dependable IT, claims a new report.
A Unisys survey conducted across eight European countries found that 81 per cent of UK consumers cite an organisation's ability to keep their data secure as a key trust-building attribute.
However, only 42 per cent of French, 40 per cent of Belgians, and 35 per cent of German consumers agree that such privacy protection is a key factor in building trust.
Conversely, 58 per cent of Europeans cite a lack of privacy protection as critical in eroding trust.
The UK leads with 76 per cent of consumers who feel that ineffective data privacy protection would cause erosion of trust, followed by Spain (62 per cent), France (58 per cent), Sweden (57 per cent), Belgium (56 per cent), Germany (56 per cent) and Italy (54 per cent).
"This research illustrates a distinct lack of awareness among consumers in many continental European countries about the true value of having personal data protected and the benefits that dependable IT can bring when they are shopping, banking, travelling or in hospital," said Rene Head, head of enterprise security in continental Europe at Unisys.
"This is surprising when you consider the risks of poor IT, including online
fraud and service delays. With this in mind, we believe that consumers have a
natural expectation that businesses will secure their operations and deliver
"Consumers will take action, often by taking their business elsewhere, if these factors are not addressed."
There is consensus across Europe, however, on the use of biometrics, such as fingerprint and iris scanning, and 75 per cent of European consumers rate the use of biometrics as a significant trust building factor.
Some 89 per cent of consumers in Belgium, 82 per cent in the UK and 65 per cent in Spain believe that it is acceptable for organisations such as banks, credit card providers, health care and government organisations to use biometrics to verify identity.
The convenience of not having to remember separate passwords, and the security of their data, were the primary reasons for favouring biometrics, according to 59 per cent of Europeans.
"There is a great opportunity here for business to win consumer trust by driving home the benefits of technology and security, whether in securing people's data or delivering new products and services," concluded Head.
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