Justin Sullivan / Staff
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Just one in five Brits trust the organisations that store their personal data

Just one in five people in the UK have confidence in the companies and organisations that store their personal data, according to a damning survey conducted by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO’s deputy commissioner, Steve Wood, said the findings indicated that businesses should be more transparent in their handling of customer data.

“Changes to data protection legislation, which include the introduction of the GDPR, offer organisations an opportunity to re-engage with their customers about data,” he told the Personal Information Economy conference in London.

“The new laws require organisations to be more accountable for data protection and this is a real commitment to putting the consumer at the heart of business.”

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations are due to come into force next year under the new Data Protection Act, which is currently passing through parliament.

From May, all businesses operating in the European Union will be liable to fines of up to 4 per cent of their annual global turnover if they flout the regulations.

The ICO’s survey revealed that UK citizens are more likely to trust public bodies than businesses with their data. Three in five (61 per cent) say they trust the NHS to store their data, while just one in ten (12 per cent) say they trust social messaging services.

Led by the UK’s information commissioner, a pan-European coalition of data protection regulators announced last month that it had formed a taskforce to scrutinise WhatsApp’s plans to share user data with its parent company Facebook.

The deal came under fire because users cannot opt out of the data transfer. The taskforce is now seeking “a clear, comprehensive resolution” to the issue.