These are the most interesting things we learned in our Your Data, Your Rights survey with people living in the Digital Corsham® community area in April 2018. 


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We carried out the survey shortly after the news about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica broke and we asked people some questions about its impact on their attitudes. 80% said that these recent events had made them think more about their data and what they share online, and 40% said it had changed the way they felt about organisations having access to their data ‘a lot’. The over 65s were more concerned about this (60% answered ‘a lot’) than 16-25s (only 10% answered ‘a lot’).



Many people didn’t know the basics about personal data. When given four definitions to choose from, 48% of respondents didn’t know the accepted definition of ‘personal data’ as defined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights. The ICO’s definition of personal data is ‘all information about me that can be identified as related to me’.

When asked to identify what personal data is, people highlighted date of birth, address, health records and ID numbers. But fewer people correctly classed location data, genetic data and political opinions as personal data. These personal identifiers are now included within the definition of personal data under GDPR, reflecting changes in technology and the addition of newer forms of sensitive data. 


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Only 18% said they knew ‘a lot’ about the collection of their data and 13% knew ‘a lot’ about how organisations might use their data.

Although knowledge levels may be low, it’s clear from our survey that people care a lot about their data being collected and how it’s used: 60% care ‘a lot’ about how organisations might use their data. This is particularly important to people over 65 years.


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77% of respondents said they wanted full control over their data but only 2% felt they have full control now. 


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People indicated they would be happy to share their data with organisations if there was a clear mutual benefit and if it could be used for the good of society (e.g. for medical research). 

75% of respondents would be happy for their data to be used to provide them with the product or service they asked for, 62% to help the NHS, and 50% to improve the services they receive from their local council. 

People were far less happy for their data to be used by companies for marketing and to share with partners. Only 1% of respondents said they would be happy for their data to be sold for profit.


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We can identify a clear need from people to have more information and transparency from organisations about how they intend to use personal data. Our survey found that it is most important for respondents to know: who their personal data is shared with (79% felt this was crucial); what data is collected (67% felt this was crucial); and what security measures organisations have in place to look after it (63% felt this was crucial).


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Whilst 60% of respondents said they were aware that their personal data rights are changing after 25 May when GDPR is introduced, very few knew how to use the rights it will grant them. Only 19% said they knew ‘a lot’ about how to use their data rights.


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However, when we presented people with situations in which they will soon be able to exercise their data rights, our survey shows that people are likely to use them: 88% said they were ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to use their right to rectification and 67% said they would be ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to use their right to erasure.


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We asked people how comfortable they felt about automated decision-making by financial organisations. Companies often use algorithms to combine a range of information about individuals to make decisions about certain issues automatically. 

63% of our respondents weren’t aware that they could ask organisations to review decisions made by automated systems. 


Our survey also highlighted some interesting demographic variations. 87% of over 65s care ‘a lot’ about the use of their personal data (compared to 60% overall who care ‘a lot’) and were the most likely to use their new data rights: 80% of over 65s were ‘very likely’ to use their right to rectification (compared to 64% overall); 67% of over 65s were ‘very likely’ to use their right to erasure (compared to 38% overall). However, the over 65s were also the least aware of the definition of personal data: only 33% correctly identified the accepted definition (compared to 52% overall).

People aged between 16-25 care the least about the way their data is used: 40% of 16-25 care ‘a lot’ and 40% care ‘somewhat’ (compared to 60% of people overall that care ‘a lot’ and 34% of people overall that care ‘somewhat’). They were also the least likely to use their data rights than others: 40% of 16-25s were ‘very likely’ to use their right to rectification (compared to 64% overall); 20% of 16-25s were ‘very likely’ use their right to erasure (compared to 38% overall).


Working with you

We hope you find the results interesting and informative. Stage 2 of the project starts now!

Ci is looking for people who live, work or study in the Corsham area to work with us on a number of projects starting with the design of the next stage of the Your Data, Your Rights project, exploring the themes revealed by the initial survey. 

If you are interested in joining this group, please contact us by email at