This report from GSMA covers a comprehensive study carried out across four different countries – Zambia, Ghana, Rwanda, and Mozambique – exploring ways in which attitudes to digital privacy and trust vary depending on levels of data protection legislation and oversight.
GSMA’s study was set up to explore their hypotheses that the presence of legal frameworks around privacy and data protection increases both consumer trust in the digital ecosystem and consumer willingness to access digital identity services.
To test this theory, the study explored attitudes towards data privacy in both Zambia and Ghana – where comprehensive privacy frameworks exist – and in Rwanda and Mozambique, which both have no comprehensive privacy framework.
GSMA’s key finding was perhaps unexpected:
“Mobile users’ attitudes to trust, privacy, and identity-linked services are often independent from the presence or absence of a comprehensive data protection/privacy law.”
However, the report notes that some slight differences do exist. In particular, the authors note that “individuals in countries with comprehensive privacy frameworks may feel “more informed, supported, or confident, in managing privacy."
What’s more, the research revealed that: “willingness to access identity-linked services is universally high, if they offer a clear benefit and are provided by a sufficiently trusted entity."
With these findings in mind, GSMA offers a series of recommendations for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) working within the digital identity space. The authors recommend that companies clearly communicate the benefits of identity-linked products and services; design transparent, user-focussed systems; use stores rather than agents to drive ID sign-ups; seek government accreditation for their ID services; and demonstrate training, skill, and understanding to reinforce customer trust.