Our new research reveals that a North-South divide is emerging when it comes to GDPR and action taken by consumers to assert their rights.

The research; conducted amongst 2,000 consumers, asked if, since the introduction of GDPR, they had:

  1. Contacted an organisation and asked them to delete their personal information
  2. Contacted an organisation to discover what information it held on them
  3. Contacted the Information Commissioner to make a complaint about an organisation in the belief they had unfairly processed their data or obtained it illegally

A fifth of consumers were found to have contacted an organisation in a bid to have their personal details deleted, nine per cent contacted an organisation to find out what information was held on them and eight per cent contacted the ICO to report a suspected infringement.

People in Sheffield were found to be generally the most concerned about their data protection ranking first or second across all three categories. A quarter of Sheffield residents had made a deletion request, 16 per cent had found out what information was held on them and 16 per cent had contacted the ICO with a complaint. Londoners were also found to be more motivated to protect their personal information than average with 15 per cent contacting a company to request their data file and 14 per cent contacting the ICO.

People living in the West Country were the least likely to take any action around data protection, with one notable exception. Bristolians were found to be the most likely at 28 per cent to ask an organisation to delete their data. However, they were amongst the least likely (4.3 per cent) to find out what information was held on them, along with residents of Brighton (3.3 per cent) and the least likely to complain to the ICO (2 per cent). People from Cardiff were the second least likely group to complain to the ICO (2.5 per cent). In addition residents of Plymouth were amongst the least likely to ask a company to delete their data (10 per cent). The East and West Midlands and East Anglia were largely found to follow the average, although residents of Birmingham were five per cent more likely to complain to the ICO than average.

As we celebrate the first anniversary of GDPR we thought it would be interesting to look at how consumers are reacting to their new rights, particularly in terms of whether geography has an impact on whether people take action. Very broadly speaking we are seeing a North/South divide emerge. With people in the North more likely to take action and people in the South being less likely – except for those living in London who take a more Northern approach to their data protection rights. As GDPR moves into its second year the ICO has announced that it will be looking to make more proactive compliance audits and as a result it is crucial for organisations to ensure that they keep up to date with compliance and ensure their customer data is as up to date as possible.