The definition of personal data is evolving rapidly in consumers’ minds, with more than half regarding details on products they have bought to be “private”, while 97% are concerned their data will be sold on, according to the data watchdog.
Yet, despite these fears, only 10% of businesses are aware of the legal limitations of how they can use customer’s personal information.
To most businesses, personal data equates to details such as bank accounts, mobile numbers and email addresses and this shift in attitudes will catch many on the hop.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham unveiled the findings of the survey as he presented the ICO Annual Report this week (see separate story, ICO gets nearly 4,500 calls a week), in which he claimed 2013 will be the year that organisations finally realise the commercial imperative of handling customer data properly.
He said: “Education and empowerment have been two of the key areas we’ve focused on. That work is having real benefits: consumers’ awareness of their rights remains strong, and that is empowering people to demand more in return for their data.
“The result is consumers expecting organisations to handle their personal data in a proper way, and in a legal way. Businesses that don’t meet that basic requirement are going to quickly find themselves losing customers.
“I think 2013 is the year that organisations will realise the commercial imperative of properly handling customer data. The stats we’ve seen about public concern around personal data show that, as does a company the size of Microsoft choosing privacy as a theme of a national advertising campaign.
“The message to business is simple: consumers understand the value of their personal data, and they expect you to too.”
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