Research: The Dutch are more positive about data use

Most people do feel they have little control over what happens with their data. Consumer trust and security appear to be indispensable for a well-functioning data-driven society.

Diana Janssen, director of DDMA: ‘The DDMA Privacy Monitor 2021 shows how important consumer trust is for any organization that works data-driven. Trust in an organization is by far the most important factor by which people decide whether or not to share data. This has been a spearhead for DDMA for years. That is why in this research we show which steps organizations can take to build or maintain trust, such as guaranteeing security, being transparent and giving people more control over their own data. ‘

The Dutch are more positive about data use

The number of people who are skeptical about the use of data by organizations has decreased (from 25% to 20%). More than three quarters of Dutch people also understand that organizations want information from them in order to use their marketing more effectively or to improve their future services. 63% is satisfied with the amount of information they provide to organizations. More people (from 29% to 34%) also think that the service provision improves when they share data, although this group is still a minority.

The corona crisis has made half of the people (48%) think more about sharing data. 57% of the Dutch are concerned about privacy – this percentage is the same as two years ago. Less than half (42%) think that the GDPR privacy law ensures better data protection. Not everyone is aware of the rights they derive from this law: 60% know that he or she can ask any organization to view his or her personal data. Compared to the previous research, knowledge about the GDPR did not increase in 2019, while there was still a huge increase at the time.


Trust in an organization is the basis for sharing personal information. 40% cite trust as the most important reason for sharing data (in 2019 this was 37%), at 55% trust is in the top three. Clarity about how the organization handles data has the most influence on this trust (50%), followed by having a quality mark that shows that an organization handles data well (40%) and the reputation of an organization (32%) . Doctors and hospitals (80%), banks (59%) and government agencies (55%) generally enjoy the most confidence when it comes to data exchange. Confidence in online services has increased significantly this year.

People also let their willingness to share data strongly depend on the way organizations deal with data

How secure someone’s data is is the most decisive in this (66%), and the reason why data is requested (63%) and the type of data involved (63%) also play a major role. Almost everyone wants organizations to clarify in advance what the benefits are of data exchange, but these benefits only affected the willingness to share in only 21%.


The number of Dutch people who feel they have little control over what happens to their data has decreased, but is still in the majority at two-thirds. 89% of people therefore indicate that they want more control over their own data. Almost everyone (96%) thinks it is important to be able to choose how much and which data they want to share. Incidentally, people do not always act on this need. For example, less than half of the people (48%) on a website first view the cookie banner, in which they can indicate which data can and cannot be shared, before they click on agree.


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