Europeans lag behind Asian and American businesses in terms of readiness for stricter data privacy laws, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit and Alibaba payments business Ant Financial study.
According to the research, American businesses had an average readiness score of 8.04, followed by South East Asian businesses (7.42), Chinese businesses (7.35) and Western European businesses (6.69).
A key factor in this was that many markets had an awareness that European-like laws would be coming into effect in other regions off the back of GDPR.
Overall, it said nearly 100% of respondents said data privacy is important to their organization, with a majority (54%) saying it will be much more so in three years’ time.
A focus for Chinese business was around connecting the importance of data privacy to good corporate governance, of which 88% of those surveyed across the regions said was true, but almost all Chinese executives (98%) believe to be true.
Michael Gold, the editor of the report, said: “Businesses need to be aware that playing fast and loose with consumer data can lead to major repercussions down the road. Smart, well-coordinated regulations can make the business world more transparent and trustworthy amid a growing realization that data is truly the ‘new oil’ in today’s economy.”
As well as market differences, the size of a company factored into readiness, according to the report. Smaller companies were less ready to experience tighter regulations than large firms, which the report said was driven by large tech players, like Apple and Google, starting to call for regulators to add clarity to the moves, which would undo some uncertainty for all businesses.
Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan spoke to The Drum this week about increased regulation and said that regulators were appeased with Google’s efforts towards using AI and looking at how to do more with less, in a future of increased data privacy.