Consumers concerned for their personal data, ICO study finds

Consumers are increasingly worried about the potential abuse of their personal data, and whether the organisations which store it are doing so in a secure manner.

Those are the latest findings of research from the ICO, which echoes sentiments we heard earlier this week from an MRS study that observed a “general distrust” of how personal data is collected.

The ICO’s Annual Track survey (carried out by ComRes) took in the views of around 1,500 UK consumers on data protection issues, and found that 85 per cent said they were “concerned” about how their details are passed to, or in some cases sold to, third-parties. And almost as many, 77 per cent, were worried that businesses weren’t storing those personal details securely.

Folks were also questioned on freedom of information, and when it comes to this topic, 75 per cent felt that private companies acting on behalf of the public sector should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham commented: “We are set for a new data protection framework in the next three years, but there are still basic things that organisations can be doing today, not only to comply with the current legislation, but also to prepare for the future regulatory landscape.

“Businesses should take the results of our survey as a prompt to address consumers’ concerns and provide clearer information to explain when people’s details will be shared and with whom. Getting these basics right today will not only improve consumer trust but also help a business along the road to future compliance.”

The ICO also announced its “corporate plan” for 2015-2018 which, as Graham mentioned, is preparing for the new EU data protection framework which is coming in, and will also see the introduction of an “ICO privacy seal scheme” as a hallmark for those who undertake and implement quality data protection measures.