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UK consumers reveal worry over online data sharing

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Wright Studio)

With the May deadline for the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (opens in new tab) (GDPR) fast approaching, new research has revealed that British businesses could be overloaded with up to 37m requests for personal data to be edited or deleted. 

Once the regulation goes into effect, EU citizens will have greater rights over their personal data and through the 'right to be forgotten (opens in new tab),' they will be able to request for their data to be edited or deleted. 

Businesses are hard at work preparing to comply with GDPR and now they must consider how they store and safeguard all of the personal data they have collected from customers (opens in new tab).    

To determine how many customers may request that their data be edited or deleted, Crown Records Management (opens in new tab) surveyed 2,000 members of the general public across the country to reveal that 71 per cent would (either definitely or possibly) ask a company to edit or delete their data once the new regulation comes into effect.  Based on the 52.6m adults living in the UK, businesses could be overloaded with as many as 37.3m requests. 

According to the survey though, 25 per cent of people said they would definitely ask for their data to be edited or deleted which amounts to 13.15m highly possible requests.  Only 8 per cent of those polled by Censuswide gave a straight 'no' when asked if they would request for their data be edited or deleted. 

Regional Manager at Crown Records Management, David Fathers shed further light on the results of the survey, saying: 

“We were all aware that the public is increasingly interested in how their personal data is used and increasingly aware of its value and the dangers of its misuse. But for so many people to indicate they will ask for data to be edited or deleted will come as a shock to many businesses. Even if only the 25 per cent who answered ‘definitely’ follow through with that intention then we could be looking at more than 16 million requests - which is an eye-watering figure. The likelihood is that the number of requests will in reality be fewer – what people say they will do and what they actually action is often different. But the results show that the data climate is changing and should nevertheless be a warning to businesses of what lies ahead." 

With GDPR set to go into effect in May, now is the time for businesses to not only prepare to comply with the upcoming regulation (opens in new tab) but also to ready themselves to deal with the possibility of a flood of 'right to be forgotten' requests. 

Image Credit: Wright Studio / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.