Brands ‘not trusted to hold data’

'No sign of data scientists in Swindon'Some 96 per cent of people do not trust brand owners to keep their personal data secure, according to a new study which urges consumers to think twice before surrendering their contact details on the likes of Facebook.
The survey, carried out by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), also reveals that 80 per cent of people are concerned about protecting their personal information online. A further 60 per cent believe they have lost control of the way their personal information is collected and processed.
Commissioner Christopher Graham, supported by Lord McNally, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, is urging people to take more care on social networking sites, to think before giving out their personal details online, and to understand what to do when things go wrong.
To help online users understand how to surf safely, the ICO has relaunched its Personal Information Toolkit. The toolkit includes tips on how to protect personal details online as well as setting out people’s rights to access and correct the information that is held about them. The previous version of the toolkit has been requested by over 100,000 members of the public to date.
Graham, said: “It’s never been more important to protect your personal information. Whether you’re surfing the net, shopping online or signing up to social networking sites, it’s crucial that people are thinking about how their information might be used.
“From employers looking up potential employees on Facebook, to cyber criminals hacking into unsecured wifi networks, not protecting your personal information can cause serious harm and distress.”
Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice, Lord McNally, said:
“The Data Protection Act has governed how our personal information is handled and used for more than a decade, and the issue of keeping our personal data safe is still as relevant as ever. Technology has come a long way since the Nineties, but with fresh opportunities come fresh risks for our personal information. This is why the Government is working with businesses, charities, consumer groups and the public sector, to look at the law and ensure it continues to protect our personal information well into the 21st century.
“But in addition to our work and that of the ICO, there is a huge amount that people can do to arm themselves against misuse of data, such as identity theft. I would especially encourage people to make use of the ICO’s Personal Information Toolkit, because knowing your rights and knowing the risks really is the best way to protect yourself.”

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