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Third of voters want political parties to erase their data

06/06/17

Survey shows significant section are sceptical about how parties retain and use their personal information

Almost a third (30%) of the general public would welcome the right to have their personal data erased from records held by political parties and associated organisations, according to a poll of UK attitudes commissioned by analytics company SAS

Red letters on sign 'ERASE'On the eve of the UK general election it has released the results of research – taking in a survey of 2,000 people in late May – investigating public attitudes into the use of their data by the parties, alongside their willingness to share political preferences. 

It reveals that the older you get, the more likely you are to want your data erased from party records. Just 17% of 18-34 year-olds would want their data erased, but this rises to 25% of 35-44 year-olds and 37% for those aged over 45.

Only 22% of those aged over 25 would also welcome the right to regain access to any of their personal data held by political parties and organisations, but this drops to one in 10 in the 18-24 year-olds category.

Nearly a third (30%) of consumers want to ask political parties to stop using their data or historical research for profiling and marketing purposes. The attitude is strongest among people in the South-East (37%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (31%).

By contrast, Londoners and the South-West are the least likely to ask for this, with results of 24% and 26% respectively.

Need for consensus

“Political parties are increasingly turning to sophisticated micro-targeting techniques to target voters with tailored messages but need to get to a consensus of one when it comes to personal data,” said Charles Senabulya, vice president and country manager for SAS UK & Ireland.

“It is no longer enough to establish one data capture and analytical policy that works for everyone. Individuals have different attitudes over how their data is used. It is imperative that political parties understand how each voter wants their data to be used and honour that wish. This is no longer a nice to have, come May 2018 this will be law in the UK too.”

When it comes to sharing their political preference with their favourite brands in return for an upgraded service, just 8% would be willing to share their political preference and 7% would share their voting history.

Image by Jason Taellious, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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