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ICO Warns Businesses On Customer Data

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, took the time to warn businesses about not taking enough care when it comes to customer data, during a speech at Infosecurity Europe.

He warned that consumers were waking up to potential dangers when it came to website permissions, and that enterprises shouldn't treat them like fools.

Graham said: "Companies that don't properly protect customer data will lose out in the next stage of consumer understanding."

"I don't think [consumers] do currently surf thinking about the quickest route to gratification. I do think people are getting wiser, they want gratification but they are increasingly guarded over their personal data."

He later told V3: "Companies that think ‘we'll take our customers as suckers' will learn the hard way that they've got the wrong idea."

According to the ICO, the security of personal data is the second biggest concern of UK citizens, with 89 per cent of respondents to a recent survey indicating it was a major priority for them.

Although it's easy to say the safety of personal data is crucial to you, its less easy to take some personal responsibility in the area, it would seem - given another ICO investigation we reported on yesterday.

This showed that half of second-hand hard disks purchased and examined hadn't been properly wiped. 11 per cent of those hard drives contained accessible personal data.

So clearly there's still some way to go when it comes to a broader understanding of data protection issues for the average consumer. Although that doesn't give any excuse to companies, which should obviously be far more aware of data security issues.

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Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.