Organisations to be more transparent - Cyber Security Survey
10Sep, 2018

The Information Commissioner is reminding organisations to be transparent with people’s personal information, after a survey revealed trust and confidence in how organisations handle personal data is still low, despite an improvement across sectors.

One year on since the original benchmark research, the ICO has conducted another round of public research.


The research found that one in three people (34%) have trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing and using their personal information. This is up from one in five people in 2017 (21%).

Trust and confidence is lowest amongst social media companies, with only one in seven (15%) people stating that they have trust and confidence in them.

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, said:

“Across the world people have woken up to the importance of personal data and how it’s used. Personal data has become the currency by which society does business, but advances in technology should not mean organisations racing ahead of people’s rights. Individuals should be the ones in control and organisations must demonstrate their accountability to the public.”

She added:

“It’s certainly positive news that more people now trust organisations with their data and the GDPR and the new Data Protection Act 2018 will have played a part in this. Many businesses, charities, and public bodies have actively taken the time to explain the new rules and have actively taken on board new obligations to protect personal data.

“However, there is still a long way to go and organisations need to realise that, unless they are trusted to properly look after people’s personal data, they will fail to realise its potential benefits to their business or the wider economy.”

Other statistics from the ICO survey show a significant increase in the proportion of respondents stating they would get advice and/or information from the ICO (33%), a 15% point increase from 2016.

The ICO launched its long term public information campaign ‘Your Data Matters’ to coincide with the new Data Protection Act in May 2018. This campaign and its fingerprint characters will help increase the public’s awareness of their rights and also the obligations that those holding it have.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the ICO and is designed as 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.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly four in five people (78%) felt that if a company/organisation that they used was affected by a data breach and their information was lost or stolen, the company holding the data should be held responsible.
  • 51% of people are concerned about automated decision making.
  • The public’s biggest concern when companies and organisations use their personal information is ‘personal information being stolen by criminals’.
  • The proportion of people stating that they or a close friend or family member have heard about a data breach has risen slightly.
  • There has been an increase from 10% to 18% of adults that feel they have a good understanding of how their personal data is used and made available by companies and organisations in the UK.

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