Business and Government Fail to Meet Millennials’ Cybersecurity Expectations
Today, digital identity and credentials expert Intercede released the findings of consumer research that suggests Millennials in the U.S. and U.K. have almost entirely lost trust in government and business to protect their personal information online. The number of respondents describing their level of trust as “none” or “a little” are at significantly high levels – 61 percent for social media platforms, 38 percent for retailers, 22 percent for federal/national government, 19 percent for financial institutions. Correspondingly, few respondents described their level of trust as complete – just 17 percent in state/local government, 13 percent for employers, and as low as 4 percent for fixed and mobile telecom operators.
Commissioned by Intercede and conducted by Atomik Research, the survey questioned approximately 2,000 16-35 year olds (the age demographic dubbed as ‘Millennials’) across the U.S. and U.K. on their perceptions of current security measures and the level of importance they place on having their data protected. The findings indicate a widespread state of mistrust that has the potential to change the nature of online interactions with public agencies and corporations and points to an immediate need for action to avoid a future backlash.
Shift in Online Behaviour and Attitudes
Data from the research also suggests that Millennials want the organisations they interact with to apply rigorous security to all of the personal data they provide. The same group was asked how important it is that a range of personal data is only shared with those individuals or companies they have specifically authorised.
For each of the identifying, financial and medical data categories, greater than 80 percent of respondents replied that it was “very important” or “vital”. While that may not be surprising, those same responses were received from 74 percent of respondents for location data, 58 percent for social media content and 57 percent for purchasing preference. Perhaps indicating their frustration, some 23 percent of the research respondents stated they provide their personal data because they believe companies and governments will have access to the data whether access is granted or not.
“Millennials are hungry for change,” said Lubna Dajani, a communications technology expert and futurist. “The generation that has grown up in a digital-first world and witnessed the rapid advancement of connected devices and information access is now facing a fallout. Major data breaches happen every week and Millennials, along with the rest of the general public, have found the trust they put in government institutions and businesses to protect their digital identities are being shaken. It’s no wonder they are beginning to rebel against continued personal data access – something needs to be done. This is by no means an apathetic generation, if business and government leaders don’t adopt better protocols now, Millennials will soon rise up and demand it.”
Call to Action for Next Generation Security Measures
The shifting attitudes reinforce Intercede’s earlier announced survey results that revealed that amongst Millennials polled in the U.S. and U.K., 44 percent of respondents believe there will be an eventual decline in data sharing and 54 percent see the failure of businesses to implement better online security as resulting in public distrust of goods and services. With regards to the appetite for more effective and efficient safeguards, 32 percent state they would like to see more secure and convenient digital verification and authentication approaches that don’t require multiple complex passwords. Perhaps this is why 30 percent of Millennials stated they would welcome or consider digital chip implants as a next-generation measure for secure identity management on technology devices.
“Unfortunately we now live in an age where data breaches have become a common occurrence and the more digitally connected we become, the greater the risk,” said Richard Parris, CEO of Intercede. “Government and business need to step up to more effectively safeguard the private information of their constituents and customers online or risk eroding trust and further damage to their reputations. Millennials are a prime and extensive demographic driving votes and dollars worldwide. Restoring digital trust by taking active measures to ensure privacy and secure personal data should be a top priority.”