Insight Blog

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How much Germans value their data and who they choose to share it with

How much Germans value their data and who they choose to share it with – The debate about data security is hot and timely. Yet the intention of consumers to protect and control their data and their actual behavior often diverge widely. A recent study shows that most consumers would be willing to sacrifice data security even for small amounts of money. The current study “Customer Trust in Disruptive Technologies” by TÜV Rheinland and the Institute for Customer Insight examines this so-called “privacy paradox” in more detail and finds out what data is worth to Germans and with whom they would be willing to share it. WELT am Sonntag and Automobilwoche report on the results.

In fact, Germans give data protection a high priority.
On a scale from one to seven, Germans give the protection of personal data a value of 6.17, according to a study conducted by TÜV Rheinland together with the Institute for Customer Insight. However, in the meantime consumers have learned that their data is actually of value. The surprisingly relaxed handling of personal data is clearly apparent in the following results of the study: For only 150 euros a year, two thirds of those surveyed would share their connection data. For one in two, 300 euros is the price of their personal appointment calendar. For 400 euros, half of the test persons sell medical information and health data and more than 70 percent of the respondents also sell a list and the access data of all apps used. The price for their own messages and chats, in turn, is 1,000 euros per year. The study participants are most sensitive when it comes to their passwords and log-in data. But for 3,500 euros, a third of the study participants would even sell these.

Andreas Herrmann identifies convenience as the primary reasons for the generous data disclosure of consumers.
“In everyday life, most of them are too lazy, so they often make far-reaching concessions without thinking and thus give away their data,” ICI Director Herrmann told the WELT. This refers to intensive users of smart devices such as mobile phones, voice assistants and fitness trackers, as well as those who give complete cookie permission on the Internet. “Reading data protection declarations is burdensome and takes time. So a quick cost-benefit analysis is carried out and in most cases data protection is then considered of secondary importance,” says Andreas Hermann in WELT.

Why is this topic relevant for TÜV Rheinland?
TÜV Rheinland is now joining the discussion as a so-called data trustee – especially when it comes to mobility. Just like other smart products, modern cars are now collecting a large amount of data that could potentially be of interest to the manufacturer, for example, argues Matthias Schubert, who is responsible for the global mobility business at TÜV Rheinland. Especially when mobility becomes more autonomous, large amounts of data are generated. “We can collect this data, store it, make it anonymous and forward it in accordance with the wishes and consent of consumers,” Schubert explains. As apparent in the study, drivers are likely assigning this role as data trustee to TÜV Rheinland, because test persons place great trust in an independent third party. Even though this role could also be assumed by a telecommunications company or the state, for example, the TÜV receives the greatest approval in the survey. “The TÜV is not a so-called love brand like Apple, for example. But it is an institution with enormously high credibility,” Herrmann deduces from the surveys.

What is the origin of trust in data protection in mobility?
Another article in Automobilwoche on Friday, October 2, 2020, specifically addresses this question. It centers around a focal aspect of the cooperative study between TÜV Rheinland and the Institute for Customer Insight: the intention behind data collection. “Whenever there is an apparent economic interest in a data manager, consumer confidence in this manager is low,” says Matthias Schubert, Global Mobility Director at TÜV Rheinland, summarizing the key message of the study. This provides an explanation as to why respondents would rather share their data with a data trustee such as TÜV than with the manufacturer of the car. Given that the digital car generates enormous amounts of data every second, and that many of those involved are gazing at this data with the greatest interest, consumers consider an independent third party to be the most reliable data trustee.

One important argument in the battle for consumer data is therefore credibility.
“A trustee model offers more opportunities and a better basis for business to those who want to develop and offer customized services” concludes Andreas Herrmann. TÜV Rheinland draws on the study results to support its future positioning. “We want to become consumer protectors in the digital world,” is how TÜV formulates its vision. “When it comes to data protection, consumers rely on a data guardian they can trust. The auditing organizations such as TÜV are predestined for that role”, says Schubert.

The study was conducted between September 2019 and March 2020 with 500 consumers based on surveys, laboratory experiments and interviews by Cynthia Sokoll from the Institute for Customer Insight and Andreas Herrmann in cooperation with TÜV Rheinland.


Für Geld würden viele Deutsche sogar ihre Passwörter verkaufen
in: WELT am Sonntag (04.10.2020)
(Carsten Dierig)

EXKLUSIV – TÜV Rheinland fordert Daten-Treuhänderschaft:
Wenig Vertrauen in Autobauer beim Datenschutz

in: Automobilwoche (02.10.2020)
(Michael Knauer)