Public lacks trust in government handling of data, ICO finds


Nearly two thirds of the UK public do not trust government departments with their personal information, according to a recent survey carried out by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The survey, which was conducted earlier this year, found that just 36% of the public feel their data is properly secured. Interestingly, this only shows a marginal increase in trust when compared to high-street retailers (32%) and energy providers (32%).


The survey

The ICO examined the opinions of over 1,200 people, questioning them on their thoughts and views of data protection.

The results were also compared to those of 2014, when it was found that two-thirds of people believed data protection should be regulated independently of government and business. This year, however, that increased to 79%, while almost half of respondents reported existing policy and regulation was not enough to protect their data.

Importantly, whilst almost all respondents had heard of the Data Protection Act (97%), just 6% had heard of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.


Freedom of Information

Whilst most were aware of the Freedom of Information Act (86%), just 55% believed they had a right to see what public money was being spent on, and 53% believed they had the right to request information held by public organisations.

Christopher Graham, information commissioner of the ICO, said: “This ought to be a real wake up call to some sectors. Consumer mistrust is never good for business. What’s more, if these customers’ concerns are well-placed, and organisations aren’t handling data properly they may be leaving themselves open to significant fines from the regulator.”

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