When confronted with a data security issue, people don’t think—they feel. “The impact of privacy issues isn’t clearly defined but is, instead, learned through pain and fear,” Joe Toscano, founder and chief vision officer at The Better Ethics and Consumer Outcomes Network (Beacon), tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.
Consumers’ experience underscores this: after being notified of a security issue with their personal information or data, 55% of Americans report feeling disoriented, 48% violated and 37% frightened, according to research from Wunderman Thompson Data. Pew Research Center findings indicate that Americans feel concerned, confused and vulnerable about data privacy.
These visceral reactions are driving a rise in data anxiety. “Privacy is one of those issues that’s constantly humming in the back of people’s minds—which, over time, can be just as, if not more, damaging to their psyche as major spikes in anxiety,” explains Toscano, who has a PhD in behavioral economics.