Ace Metrix Study Shows Confusion Around Consent and Privacy

Last week, Ace Metrix, the leader in video creative assessments, released its new study on consumer privacy.

Specifically, the study involved Smart TV usage and whether or not consumers were aware of what they consented to. Within the survey, 36,000 US consumers were asked about their Smart TV use and whether or not they were aware of the consent they provided in regards to their own personal data collection.

Peter Daboll, CEO at Ace Metrix, discussed some of the most surprising findings within the study.

“While the data itself was surprising, the overall finding was apparent from the start. We had a sense that consumers were unaware, and we wanted to uncover just how high that percentage actually was. Consumers have got into the habit of easily skipping through lengthy EULAs (End User License Agreements) so much so they can't even recall coming across one most of the time. Data companies know this and are often deliberately vague. Brands need know this as well, since under this new legislation, they will be liable for violations as well.”

Perhaps most shocking was the 49 percent of consumers not knowing if their television viewing habits are being monitored or not. Why are consumers so uninformed on this? Daboll elaborated on the theories behind everything.

“The reason is that the Consent agreement is very confusing,” Daboll went on to say. “Not only are television viewing habits being monitored, but all connected devices in the household can be monitored, such as computers, iPads. Links are then made between exposure to a TV ad and some other activity.”

Some of the results from the study included only 13 percent of people knowing they were being monitored and able to recall agreeing to the Terms of Service for their Smart TV. Another 49 percent of people were unsure if their TV viewing habits were being monitored - yet 62 percent of them had TVs connected to the Internet. Lastly, 75 percent of the consumers in the study had no idea how they originally gave consent.

For Daboll and his team, this isn’t so much “blissful ignorance,” as it is a lack in knowledge due to the nature of agreements and consent.

“I don't think it’s blissful ignorance. I think it’s just a lack of knowledge about what they consented too. Very few of us read the EULA's or agreements when there is a software update on our computer. The same is true for other connected devices.  In the future, brands will also be liable for using consumer data that was obtained illegally. Consumers are starting to wake up and demand more transparency, and the easy ability to opt-out.”

The market has seen a sizeable shift in awareness amongst consumers over the last year, with data breaches at major brands starting to wake people up to how their data is being used.

New privacy agreements by companies and updated terms of service have become policies of the norm as brands continue to struggle with making sure consumers are aware of how their data is being tracked.

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