Younger consumers outpacing elders in exercising data rights: Cisco survey

Cisco, a global leader in networking and technology, has released its annual 2023 Consumer Privacy Survey, shedding light on consumers’ evolving attitudes and behaviors regarding data privacy. The survey emphasizes the increasing privacy concerns among younger consumers and their perspectives on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in data privacy.

In a significant revelation, the survey highlights that younger consumers aged 18-24 are proactively safeguarding their data privacy. 42% of consumers in this age group exercise their Data Subject Access Rights, in contrast to just 6% of those aged 75 and older. The generational gap underscores a growing awareness of data privacy and a desire for greater control over personal information.

Young Consumers Leading Data Privacy Advocacy

This year’s survey identified 33% of respondents as “Privacy Actives”—individuals who actively care about privacy, take actions to protect it, and make choices, such as changing companies or providers based on data policies and sharing practices. Younger consumers, particularly, champion data privacy, with 42% of those aged 18-34 falling into the “Privacy Actives” category, a percentage that decreases with age.

The percentage of consumers requesting data deletions or changes has risen to 19%, up from 14% in the previous year. Again, age is a significant factor, with 32% of consumers aged 18-24 making such requests compared to only 4% of older consumers.

AI and Its Influence on Privacy

The survey also explores the interplay between AI and privacy. While 48% of respondents agreed that AI can improve their lives, a majority (54%) expressed willingness to share anonymized personal data to enhance AI products and decision-making.

However, 62% of consumers voiced concerns regarding how organizations employ their data for AI applications, with 60% admitting a loss of trust in organizations due to their AI utilization. To regain customer trust, organizations are urged to implement measures like auditing products for bias, ensuring transparency, explaining how AI functions, incorporating human oversight, and establishing AI Ethics Management Programs.

Cisco’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Dev Stahlkopf, emphasized the importance of responsible AI adoption: “The world is watching how companies will responsibly approach AI. For Cisco, this means keeping a keen focus on respecting privacy and human rights as we incorporate AI technology.”

Generative AI: Privacy Concerns

The survey provides an early glimpse into the use of generative AI (GenAI) and the privacy challenges it presents. Gen AI is a relatively new concept for many, with 52% of respondents admitting to being unaware of it.

Only half of those who regularly use GenAI (12%) refrain from inputting personal or confidential information into Gen AI applications. Notably, the other half might be sharing such sensitive data, even though 88% of respondents would express concern if their data entered into Gen AI were to be shared.

Importance of Privacy Laws and Government Role

The survey highlights that public awareness of privacy laws remains relatively low, with 46% of respondents being aware of their country’s privacy law. Those who are aware feel more confident in protecting their data, emphasizing the importance of educating consumers about their privacy rights.

The survey suggests that governments should play a significant role in setting the standard for data protection, with 50% of respondents believing the government should have the primary role in safeguarding data, compared to 21% who think it should be the responsibility of private companies.

However, consumers are divided on data localization, with 76% initially thinking it might be a good idea. But, when considering the potential increase in product and service costs, only 44% expressed favorability towards data localization.

Cisco’s 2023 Consumer Privacy Survey highlights the pressing need for organizations to rebuild trust by ensuring the responsible use of AI and data protection. With younger consumers taking proactive steps to safeguard their data and governments expected to play a more significant role in data protection, it’s clear that the relationship between consumers, AI, and data privacy is evolving rapidly.


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