Consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy and data protection and more negative about digital advertising. The tech industry and negative societal impacts they have created. The spread of facial recognition technology, the Internet of Things and smart cities could only heighten the issue. Governments are starting to respond but, beyond regulatory compliance, companies can rebuild trust by proactively embracing data ethics.


Data ethics goes beyond compliance with personal data protection laws. It is the responsible and sustainable use of data, which does the right thing for people and society. It addresses moral problems related to data and algorithms, which have potential to cause harm.

Key Insights

1. Companies are under pressure from consumers on data ethics

According to Dentsu Aegis research, less than half (45%) of global consumers trust organisations to protect the privacy of their personal data while a similar number (44%) have taken steps to reduce the amount of data they share online. 80% say they would stop doing business with an organisation that misused their data - the leading cause of distrust of the tech industry. A study conducted by YouGov found that over 90% of global consumers expect brands to use technology ethically and governments to intervene if they do not, with 84% fearing their personal data is not secure. A different YouGov study reported that just over half of global consumers want to see more regulation of tech and social media companies. When it comes to advertising, consumer acceptance of display ads on websites in return for access drops significantly – from 63% to 36% - once they understand how personal data is shared with advertisers and used to serve targeted ads.