O2’s Dunne calls on firms to improve trust around data use


Operator’s UK boss says European firms must do more to reassure consumers around the use of their personal information   

O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne has called on European businesses to take collective action to improve consumer trust and confidence around the use of personal data.

He was speaking alongside European Commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship Viviane Reding at a debate on the EU’s progress towards agreeing new data protection rules.

Dunne (pictured) said that research conducted by the operator last year showed people are scared of sharing data because of a lack of clarity from businesses and government over the use of it and the benefits around it.

“For businesses and governments to realise the potential of customer data, and for the benefit of citizens themselves, there needs to be a greater level of trust established and a fair value exchange realised.

“Last year we conducted state of the nation research to understand more about the public’s attitudes toward the sharing of information.  The resulting report, the Data Dialogue, found that whilst the new digital services needed to power economic growth depend on the creation, collection and analysis of data, the reality, and increasingly our challenge, is that people are fearful of sharing that data.  It’s made clear that this is largely because companies and government haven’t explained how they use data or how the customer will benefit.

“In my opinion, there must be a unified push by businesses to better explain how information is collected and used; giving consumers more power over their data – and with it greater confidence. Without this, there will always remain confusion and concern amongst the public about inconsistent practices and standards.

Dunne added that new European data protection rules, if implemented in the right way, would help to significantly increase customer trust and confidence in the digital world.

“There is shared value to be created from personal data, for business and for consumers. Technologies that use data to predict and analyse behaviour can help customers get what they want faster, and do what they want to do better.  Intelligent use of data can make our customers’ lives easier and better.”

“If implemented correctly, the proposed new European data protection rules will make a huge contribution to increasing customer trust and confidence in digital services. Importantly, they will make things much simpler by establishing a single approach across Europe.

“However, it’s not just by complying with legislation, but by working together to establish the trust amongst the public, that will enable us to push the boundaries of innovation.  The danger is that a lack of confidence when it comes to data will constrain our growth and limit our digital competitiveness on the global stage.”