ICO publishes annual tracking research

77% of people say protecting their personal information is essential, research commissioned by the ICO has found.

The survey of over 2,000 individuals monitors changes in what people think about data protection and freedom of information, and how they utilise their information rights. This has been especially important during the pandemic where the public and organisations have had to quickly adapt their daily lives and businesses.

The survey, carried out by Harris Interactive, also shows levels of trust and confidence in how companies and organisations store and use personal information has remained broadly stable since 2020.

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham said:

“At its core, data protection is about trust.

“Over the past five years, we have seen real growth in the number of people with high trust and confidence in how businesses and organisations process personal information.

“This is important because we know that when people have trust in how their data is used, they will engage more in data-driven innovations, allowing organisations to maximise impact.

“The research also shows that when individuals become aware of data being misused, lost or stolen their trust in organisations can decrease. To maintain high levels of trust, organisations must maintain high standards in all areas of data protection, from the use of pioneering technology through to the basics of data retention and destruction.”

The ICO commissions annual track research to monitor changes in public attitude and perceptions and why these changes may occur. For example, around one in seven people are more likely to be comfortable with their personal information being shared in the public sector as a direct result of the pandemic. These insights help inform the focus of our work.

The results are published on the ICO website and are available for use by interested parties.

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham said:

“This research is important to the ICO. By gaining insight into public perceptions, we can better appreciate the challenges organisations face. This in turn helps shape our focus and priorities.

“The next 12 months will see the ICO, once again, engaging on prominent data initiatives, working to support innovation whilst continuing to promote the value of data protection.”

Analysis of how trust and confidence levels and perceptions of data protection and freedom of information have changed over the past five years will be completed later this year.

ICO has also published its annual report.

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