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Is data protection and privacy relevant across all strata in Indian society?

Pensaar Design has been working on a research study with CGAP to better understand low-income customers and their behaviour towards data protection and privacy (DPP).

The objective being to understand whether customers were aware of what it meant and how it impacted them, it started out with exploratory research to gain this context.

What we found was that once you broke down the seemingly complex term and contextualised it for them, most customers quoted instances of data misuse in their own lives and those in their immediate network.

Examples from within their own circle had actually created some level of understanding about the issue, and made it relevant to this audience. There were instances of phishing emails, of calls, and so on, and not having the benefit of sufficient awareness or education, this audience seemed, particularly at threat.

We discovered that the concept of consumer consent is particularly broken in the low-income segment in India. This is because very often these customers are in dire need of a loan or other financial solution, and at that juncture, given their urgent need for funds, often end up signing over their privacy rights without even fully realising what they're doing!

Despite how things have been thus far, however, what we learnt was that these customers do have some degree of awareness, and are in fact concerned about their privacy and personal information and are willing to do more to protect it.

We found that these customers are willing to pay for access to Data Protection and Privacy, or even open to investing time or effort if need be, to secure their data.

Basis these findings, we are now in the process of testing these out in the real world, to further validate these findings.

Deepa Bachu, CEO & Co-Founder of Pensaar Design, the firm carrying out the research said “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop a really rigorous understanding of DPP among the lower-income group and the privilege of partnering with CGAP. Our behaviour based research gave us an opportunity to continuously learn and evolve our understanding. We look forward to the next phase to further carry out behaviour-based research experiments with financial service providers.”

Maria Fernandez Vidal and David Medine, CGAP senior financial sector specialists said, “We are excited about partnering with Pensaar Design to test the degree to which lower-income consumers are willing to act to protect their privacy in their financial transactions. Moving from simulations to marketplace financial products will further enhance our understanding of the importance of data protection and privacy to consumers. The findings could promote industry self-regulatory efforts by making the case that privacy is good business.”

(We got this infomration in a press release.)