Who do you trust with data – bank, telco, your government?

Image credit | ma-no

For many years we have been debating trust, particularly trust as an asset. The debate has mainly been about who do you trust with your stuff and your data – your bank or your telco. Facebook and other social media companies briefly entered the conversation and were swiftly sent on their way.

One entity that was not discussed in any serious way was your Government. Governments are just too creepy or inefficient or, frankly, boring to be included in a discussion about who you trust with your data.

It turns out, though, that 84% of people would allow their Government access to their data in exchange for better service. The survey was conducted by Accenture, amongst 6,500 respondents, in 11 countries in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific.

Granted that this trade-off between trust and data is about wanting better service from Government departments and agencies but many people see the potential of virtual agents, even if they have not had a good experience so far and most like the idea of a Government department that is ‘24/7’.

Interestingly, the citizens of Singapore are happiest with their interaction with Government and Japan is the least happy. Just over half of Australians are happy and most have used virtual means of communicating.

There seems to be a sense that if a citizen agrees to share his or her personal information then the automated communications agent will be more likely to advise the best way forward.

What is also interesting here is the same could be said of banks or telcos. Or at least, should be.

If a bank offered you better advice about your finances in exchange for access to your data, would you take it up on the offer?

If your telco did the same, offering advice on better plans, offers and discount would you take it up?

Perhaps there is an element of ‘nice idea but they are both commercial companies so they will bombard me with offers, discounts, mortgages and what have you’. Perhaps both did not get the offer right in the first place or maybe the digital service providers and social media companies who plundered our data ruined the fun for everyone. And whether they can regain that trust is yet to be seen – but in doubt.

What is fascinating is that it is the one entity that collects our taxes, processes our speeding fines and generally takes our money, that we trust with our data.

Wonders never cease.

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