Confidence in Organisations Holding Personal Data on The Rise

The word trust being build by miniature toy construction machines

A survey by the ICO has revealed that people are more trusting with their data despite an avalanche of bad press regarding the mishandling of sensitive information. 

The proportion of people who trust organisations with their personal data has risen since 2017, according to the latest survey from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The Information Rights Strategic Plan: Trust and Confidence showed that, of the 2,131 respondents, just 9% said they had no trust and confidence in organisations holding their data – a decrease from 14% in 2017. One in three (34%) people reported having high trust and confidence in organisations storing and using their data, which is up significantly from the 21% in 2017.

Nearly one in five (18%) of respondents feel they have a good understanding of how their personal data is used, this is up from the 10% in 2017. The number of people who feel they know very little or nothing at all about how their data has fallen from 39% in 2017 to 26% in 2018. The research suggests that this greater awareness is due to increased coverage of data protection issues.

Report Shows a Greater Awareness Personal Data Rights

58% of respondents were aware they have the right to access personal data, while 52% indicated they knew they have the right to be informed about the collection and use of their data, and 45% said they know they can ask for their data to be rectified.

There has also been a marked increase in the public’s understanding of how their data is made available to third parties, the figure of those who felt informed increased from 10% in 2017 to 18% in 2018.

The findings show that people are more likely to have trust and confidence in public bodies than private bodies storing and using their personal data. When asked about trust and confidence levels towards companies, people indicated they had the least faith in social media messaging platforms.

For nearly three quarters (74%) of the public the biggest concern people have in regards to the storage of their personal data by organisations is that their personal information will be stolen by criminals. Furthermore, 53% worried their data would be used to track their online activity, while 51% were concerned that it was being used to make automated decisions about them.

It would seem that the ICO’s efforts to become more mainstream have paid off with 33% listing the office as one of the places they would go to for advice on protecting their data. This is an increase of 17% since 2017. However, the report revealed that the Citizens Advice Bureau and search engines still outranked the ICO with 44% and 49% respectively.

Commissioner Elizabeth Denham welcomed the results, saying: “Individuals should be the ones in control and organisations must demonstrate their accountability to the public.”

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