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American consumers give India top trust ranking

Majority of the consumers do not want US companies to share their personal info with outsourcing firms overseas.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 01:46 IST

Majority of the American consumers do not want US companies to share their personal information with outsourcing companies overseas.

However, US adults are most comfortable with India, Canada and Ireland and have given these countries highest overall trust rankings with respect to local companies taking steps to protect or safeguard personal information.

Philippines, Mexico, Haiti and Russia received the lowest trust rankings.

The survey sponsored by global law firm White & Case LLP, and developed by independent privacy think tank Ponemon Institute found that 51 per cent of US adults do not want a US organisation to send sensitive personal information such as social security or driver's licence numbers to a local company in another country.

Opposition was higher when it came to sharing even more sensitive information: 60 per cent didn't want their credit or debit card account numbers shared with an offshore company; 64 per cent opposed having their employee records shared; 73 per cent opposed having their banking or home mortgage information shared; and a whopping 83 per cent opposed having their health records shared with a local company in another country.

"That so many Americans are concerned about sensitive personal data going overseas isn't surprising given the growing threat of identity theft and general misperceptions about outsourcing itself," said White & Case partner Steve Betensky, who regularly advises companies on outsourcing issues. 

He adds that the problem is further compounded by the fact that 82 per cent of survey respondents felt that new US regulations were needed to ensure that offshore companies had adequate security and privacy safeguards in place -- despite the fact that many industries such as healthcare and financial services are already strongly regulated.

"When customers aren't willing to pay more for security safeguards, they automatically turn to government for relief. That leads to increased regulations, which generally leads to higher costs for companies in order to comply or risk fines. So the real message I take away from this survey is that companies better be prepared to pay more one way or the other.

The best thing that companies can to do is negotiate their outsourcing contracts carefully so that the offshoring entity assumes some of the risk and costs associated with privacy safeguards and takes responsibility for ensuring that those privacy safeguards are effective," said Betensky.