Public confidence in how companies are handling data seems low. A recent survey carried out on behalf of the UK’s data protection regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) shows that 85% of people are concerned about how their data is passed or sold to other organisations. The survey also shows 77% of people are concerned about organisations not keeping their details secure.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (‘the DPA 1998’) data must also be fairly and lawfully processed. Companies should advise people when their data is being passed or sold to other organisations. Companies have a separate responsibility under the DPA 1998 to keep personal information secure.
The UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham says:
“Providing people with enough information to understand how their details will be used is a basic principle of data protection. While the vast majority of companies are meeting the letter of the law… most people remain concerned about how their information is being shared. This situation is not good for consumers, or for businesses.
Businesses should take the results of our survey as a prompt to address consumers’ concerns and provide clearer information to explain when people’s details will be shared and with whom. Getting these basics right today will not only improve consumer trust but also help a business along the road to future compliance.”
When customers are unhappy about how their information is used this can lead to complaints to the ICO, investigations and court action. Companies can avoid these difficulties if they act now to put the correct policies and training in place.
Having clear and open privacy notices on your website about how you are using data and how you are keeping it secure are important in maintaining customer confidence and minimising complaints. It makes good commercial sense to have the correct policies in relation to how your company handles data. Cordery assist with privacy notices here. We also advise on data protection and provide data protection training.
Patrick O’Kane is Compliance Counsel with Cordery in London
Patrick O’Kane, Cordery, Lexis House, 30 Farringdon Street, London, EC4A 4HH
Office: +44 (0)207 118 2700