One out of ten trust government data security

It’s probably no surprise, but the government’s horrendous record with data security has destroyed the public’s trust.

Only one of every ten people trust the government to handle their personal data, according to new research released today.

The DES survey also showed 93 per cent of people who were against or not sure about identity cards said that this was because the government had a poor track record on protecting data.

This was a big contrast with the general freedom that people had with private information when dealing with organisations like banks and employers, with 74 per cent willing to hand over their details.

The results confirmed that the spate of data protection incidents and the press attention it has received has destroyed much of the trust that the public has with the governmental sector.

“On the face of it, these results seem surprising and controversial as they highlight such a high level of mistrust in government,” said Cherry Taylor, managing director of Dynamic Markets, who compiled the report.

“However in the wider context, when you consider the series of data protection incidents last year, maybe it’s not as shocking as you would imagine,” said Taylor.

“This is a problem we have seen echoed in other research, which suggests that it might be an issue that the government really needs to address.”

The government home secretary Jacqui Smith has already delayed the introduction of ID cards until 2012 and her contention that online ID card databases cannot be hacked has been contested by security experts and doubted by the public.

The results showed that 67 per cent of respondents didn’t trust the government’s technology and 56 per cent do not trust civil servants with their personal data.

“The research shows how damaging negative press surrounding a data breach can be – and it can be so easily prevented,” said DES managing director David Tomlinson.

One other concerning statistic showed that 52 per cent of staff were not given any means of encrypting data when dealing with client’s private information.

“The survey highlights the fact that there is a need to educate the public at large about data protection methods, such as encryption,” he added.

Asavin Wattanajantra