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In its latest consumer research, Cisco, the digital communications tech company, found that younger generational cohorts are more concerned about their data privacy than other generations.

In the report, “Generation Privacy: Young Consumers Leading the Way,” researchers at Cisco said younger consumers “are taking deliberate action to protect their privacy, as 42 percent of consumers aged 18 to 24 exercise their Data Subject Access Rights, compared with just 6 percent for consumers 75 and older.”

Researchers identified 33 percent of respondents who qualify as “Privacy Actives,” which means they care about privacy and “are willing to act to protect it, and have acted, for example by switching companies or providers because of their data policies or data sharing practices,” the report’s authors said, adding that younger consumers “are the most willing to take action to protect their privacy. Forty-two percent of consumers, aged 18 to 34, are Privacy Actives, a percentage that steadily decreases with age.”

The research also showed the percentage of consumers who request data deletions or changes jumped to 19 percent this year from 14 percent last year. “Again, this is highly correlated with age: thirty-two percent of consumers aged 18 to 24 make data deletion or change requests compared to only 4 percent of older consumers.,” the report stated.

Regarding advanced technologies, the report’s authors said many consumers “have lost trust in organizations because of their use of artificial intelligence, and 50 percent of respondents look to the government to set rules and enforce privacy protections.” The research also revealed that 12 percent of those polled identify as regular users of generative AI.

Other key findings of the report include that 48 percent of those polled said AI can help improve their lives. And 54 percent said “they are willing to share their anonymized personal data to help improve AI products and decision-making.” 

Still, the research showed that 62 percent of respondents “expressed concern about how organizations are using their personal data for AI today, with 60 percent saying that they have already lost trust in organizations because of their AI use,” the report’s authors said.

Cisco said in a statement that organizations can implement measures “to (re)gain customer trust, such as auditing products and solutions for bias, being more transparent and explaining how the AI works, ensuring human involvement, and instituting an AI Ethics Management Program.”

Dev Stahlkopf, executive vice president and chief legal officer at Cisco, said the world “is watching how companies will approach AI in a responsible way. For Cisco, this means keeping a keen focus on respecting privacy and human rights as we incorporate AI technology.” 

With generative AI, half of the 12 percent that use it regularly said they refrain from entering personal or confidential information. “It is notable that the other 50 percent may indeed be entering personal or confidential information,” the report noted. “This is despite 88 percent of respondents indicating that they would be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ concerned if their data entered in Gen AI were to be shared.”

Cisco said its annual privacy survey is part of many research-based, data-driven publications in the company’s Cybersecurity Study Series. This double-blind study is based on a survey of more than 2,600 consumers in 12 countries.