Only a quarter of the UK public trust businesses with their personal data

Only one in four UK adults trust businesses with their personal information, and only a fifth trust internet companies with their data.

Only a quarter of the UK public trust businesses with their personal data

This comes according to a survey published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) into the British public’s attitude to data protection. The results show widespread consumer mistrust, notably towards mobile networks and internet brands.

Of those surveyed, only 22% said they trusted internet brands. 29% said they trusted mobile networks and 31% that they trusted technology brands. Marginally greater trust was shown towards high-street retailers, at 32%, and government departments, at 36%. High-street banks scored the highest, with 53% of people saying they trusted them with personal information.

“This ought to be a real wake-up call to some sectors. Consumer mistrust is never good for business,” commented the information commissioner, Christopher Graham.

The levels of trust are generally consistent across the subgroups surveyed, but the ICO notes that millennials are more likely to trust technology companies, with 39% compared to 31% among the UK population. Millennials are also less likely to safeguard their data, with only 47% using antivirus software compared to 84% of baby boomers.

Elsewhere in the Annual Track 2016 survey, 75% of people believe it is important for data protection to be taught in schools. 97% of the population knows about the Data Protection Act, but only 16% are aware of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

When asked about the outcome of giving away personal information, 75% said they were worried about their data being accessed by criminals. 68% pointed to concerns of the data being sold to companies for marketing purposes.

“There’s increasing evidence of consumers taking steps to avoid aggressive marketing,” said Graham. “Our survey shows that concerns around people’s information being used to market products to them ranks as one of the top consumer worries.”

The full result of the survey are available on the ICO website.

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