Steve Wood, deputy commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is reminding organisations to be transparent with people’s personal data after a survey revealed a significant deficit of trust that organisations must address if they want to innovate with personal information. The ICO’s survey highlights that only one fifth of the UK public (ie 20%) have trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing their personal information.
“As personal information becomes the currency by which society does business, organisations need to start making people’s data protection rights a priority,” urged Wood. “Putting data protection at the centre of digital business strategies is the key to improving trust and digital growth. Changes to data protection legislation, which include the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) next May, offer organisations an opportunity to re-engage with their customers on the subject of data. The new laws require organisations to be more accountable for data protection. This is a real commitment to putting the consumer at the heart of business.”
Wood delivered a speech about the importance of building consumer trust and confidence at Ctrl Shift’s Personal Information Economy Conference in London.
Other statistics from the ICO survey show British adults are broadly unfamiliar with the specifics of how their personal data is being used by companies and organisations in the UK, with only one-in-ten (10%) stating they have a good understanding of how their personal data is used.
The survey was conducted by ComRes on behalf of the ICO and is designed as a benchmark measurement for the ICO’s Information Rights Strategic Plan 2017-2021. One of the ICO’s main strategic goals over the next four years is to increase the UK public’s trust and confidence in how data is used and made available.
Further key survey findings
Other key findings from the survey include the following:
*UK citizens are more likely to trust public bodies than private companies or organisations regarding holding or sharing their personal information
*Three-in-five (61%) say they have trust and confidence in the NHS or their local GP to store and use their personal information, while around half say the same of the police service (53%) or national Government departments and organisations (49%)
*One-in-ten UK adults (12%) assert that they have trust and confidence in social messaging platforms storing and using their personal information
*Less than one-in-ten (8%) of UK adults say they have a good understanding of how their personal data is made available to third parties and the public by companies and organisations in the UK
*Older UK adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to say they have little trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing and using their personal information
“By now,” concluded Wood, “organisations should be aware of the changes being made to data protection law next May. It’s no longer acceptable to see the law as a box-ticking exercise. Organisations will need to be accountable, both to their customers and to the regulator. We want to see improvements in these figures. It’s time for organisations to start building the UK public’s trust and confidence in how data is used and made available.”