Brits 'don't trust companies with personal data'

Nearly 80 per cent of people believe their personal information is ‘insecure’ in the hands of the companies who hold that data, and more believe that reckless or repeated data breaches should be a criminal matter and punishable by imprisonment.

This low level of consumer trust could have a big impact on the reputation and brand value of a company, the survey suggests, when taking into account the response from businesses. Not only did the majority of companies polled - 76 per cent - expect to lose customers if a data loss or breach occur, about 50 per cent of them expected it to be immediate.

The statistics are “very concerning for businesses” in the current, unstable market conditions, says John Brigden, senior vice president, EMEA at Symantec: “Not only do they risk losing customers following an incident of data loss, but almost 60 per cent of companies said it would make it a lot harder to attract new customers once the reputation had been tarnished.”

A further 75 per cent are concerned by how much information companies - online or offline - hold about them; and 93 per cent of people will not provide personal details to a company which had past problems of losing data. When questioned on the trustworthiness of public companies, half of those polled rated the Government as the ‘least trustworthy’ organisation.

However, Brits are not careful when it comes to protecting their own information, with 73 per cent of respondents not checking what happens to their credit card details when it leaves their sight, and 18 per cent not verifying the security of websites they use.

Even though half of Brits voted online payments as the most likely risk to losing data, the credit crunch has forced the majority to turn to the Internet to shop, with 84 per cent confirming that they surf the web for the best deals. Seventy five per cent are more likely to shop online for items now than they were six months ago, which is a clear indication of the fact that consumers are most concerned about price – and not necessarily safety. 

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