In a period when young people are constantly reading and hearing about data breaches like Cambridge Analytica, social media monitoring, and secretive tracking, they are becoming more concerned with the value and security of their data and privacy. Eighty-four percent of Youth Culture Uncovered respondents ranked it as a major concern. For under 18's, 88% admitted feeling concerned. With this, youth are welcoming GDPR compliance from organisations. Mainly, they're happy to see action being taken to protect their own personal data.
"We knew Facebook was taking our data. We knew Google was listening in on our conversations and using it to target ads. We're the product, and provided we wanted to use Facebook or Google, we had to sacrifice our data. GDPR is at least a step in the right direction – previously you looked at governments and thought, 'they're just going to bend over and do whatever the big tech firms wanted' - GDPR is the EU standing up to them and demanding that their citizens' data is dealt with appropriately, and responsibly. I'm really happy to see it come in." - Paul, 25, The Love Network
Young people are concerned about what data of theirs is being harvested. Whilst they are relatively ok with content that they have posted online publicly, to be used, they are absolutely not ok with content they consider private, being accessed. They are suspicious of big tech firms listening to them through their phone's microphones or harvesting data from private conversations in messenger apps. For young people, what is private must remain private.
"The conversations I have are no longer private, I may as well have posted the messages on my wall. That makes me uncomfortable, it's invasive." Charlotte, 22, The Love Network
However, young people are not totally averse to sharing their data provided there is a value exchange. If their data can be used to better serve them online, such as target them with ads that are relevant to them and their needs, they're ok with that. What they're not ok with though is when their data is shared, beyond their control, to third-party groups. Young people want to retain control of their data. It is, after all, their data and they understand just how valuable it is to organisations. If it's being sold, or used, they must be included.
GDPR is a step in the right direction, welcomed by young people, happy to see their governments stand up and to defend their privacy and protect their data.