NEWS10 September 2018

Trust in use of data grows but remains low

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UK – The majority of the public ( 78%) feel that companies affected by data breaches should be held responsible for the loss or theft of personal data, and most still don’t trust organisations with their data, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Data trust handshake_Crop

Research commissioned by the ICO has found that while the level of trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing and using personal information has increased to a third ( 34%), compared to a fifth ( 21%) in 2017, the proportion of the public with low trust and confidence remains greater.

People are most likely to trust the NHS or local GP with their data ( 65% rating them 4-5 out of 5 for trust and confidence), while police ( 54%) and national governmental bodies ( 51%) also attract a high level of trust and confidence. Only one in seven people ( 15%) said they trust social media companies with their data.

The biggest concern for the public when data is used by companies is having their personal data ‘stolen by criminals’ ( 74%), while 53% are worried about having their online activity tracked, 51% are concerned about data being used for automated decision-making, and 7% said they had no concerns with companies using their personal information.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “It’s certainly positive news that more people now trust organisations with their data and the GDPR and the new Data Protection Act 2018 will have played a part in this. Many businesses, charities, and public bodies have actively taken the time to explain the new rules and have actively taken on board new obligations to protect personal data. 

“However, there is still a long way to go and organisations need to realise that, unless they are trusted to properly look after people’s personal data, they will fail to realise its potential benefits to their business or the wider economy.”

Harris Interactive interviewed 2,131 adults online aged 18+ between 23rd and 25th July 2018.

The research was released on the same day as reports of a high-profile data breach affecting British Airways, in which up to 380,000 payments were compromised between 21st August and 5th September. The company said the stolen data included personal and financial details of customers making bookings and changes on the airline’s website and app.

Businesses can be fined up to €20m or 4% of global turnover for data protection breaches under GDPR.