The majority of Britons distrust both public and private sector organisations when it comes to storing and processing their personal data securely and ethically, according to a new report.
Published by the Digital Catapult, a non-profit national research and development centre funded by Innovate UK, the study found that three in five UK consumers (60 per cent) are uncomfortable sharing personal information with business and government, and that 14 per cent refuse to share their data at all.
Furthermore, it showed that almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Britons are unsure whether or not their records are shared by others without their consent, with a third (30 per cent) blaming the retail sector in particular for a lack of clarity in this regard.
When asked which vertical they trusted the most with their personal data, the public sector led the way with 44 per cent of the vote. Telecoms proved the least trusted, with just two per cent of UK consumers citing it as the vertical with the best perceived track record for secure and ethical data processing.
The Digital Catapult warned that this lack of trust could undermine growth in the country’s burgeoning technology sector “for years to come”.
“The sharing of personal data is vital to the improvement of digital services and the development of new ones,” said chief executive Neil Crockett.
“Every digital service reaches a point where it must overcome a hurdle … To deliver the best digital services and drive economic growth, we must ensure they [consumers] trust businesses to use their information in the right way.”
According to the results of the study, this trust can be established by giving Britons more control over how their data is used – and, more broadly, by harnessing it in a way that benefits society.
Other steps that companies could take include improving their data security to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack, as well as securely deleting data when no longer in use.
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