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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 10:31 GMT
Blunders prompt more care of data
Compact discs
High-profile cases of data loss have hit the headlines
Eight out of ten people are taking greater care to protect personal information following recent data loss blunders, according to a survey.

The poll for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that three-quarters of us were more worried than ever over access to personal data.

And 70% said they felt powerless over how organisations kept an eye on data.

The survey comes after the government lost computer discs containing the entire child benefit database.

Data losses

The discs contained the personal details of 25 million people including their bank details, National Insurance numbers and information about their children.

It became clear in November that the discs were lost after HM Revenue and Customs sent them to the National Audit Office unregistered and unencrypted.

More data blunders came to light in the following weeks, including the theft of a Royal Navy laptop containing 600,000 people's details and the disappearance in the US of a computer hard drive containing information on three million British learner drivers.

The ICO poll of 1,000 people found that 53% of those asked no longer had confidence in the way banks, local authorities and government departments handled personal information.

Time to check

Some 88% of those polled have started checking bank statements more regularly and 85% now refused to give out personal details wherever possible.

Silhouettes
Someone's personal data can be found on up to 700 databases

David Smith, deputy commissioner at the ICO, said: "As more and more personal information is collected, the risk grows that some information will be inaccurate, out of date or end up in the wrong hands.

"If organisations fail to recognise the importance of data protection they not only risk losing business, they could also face action from the ICO."

The privacy watchdog wants more people to double-check that their information is being used properly and is publishing a checklist to help them.



SEE ALSO
'Lax standards' on data security
14 Mar 08 |  UK Politics
Thousands hit by breaches of data
12 Mar 08 |  Scotland
Personal data privacy 'at risk'
21 Feb 08 |  Business
How worried should people be?
20 Nov 07 |  Business

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