Data handling failure ‘will cost businesses customers’

The Information Commissioner says that businesses that fail to handle their customers’ personal data properly will quickly find themselves losing clients.

Speaking at the launch of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) annual report on 20 June, Christopher Graham said consumers were keenly aware of how their data should be handled.

An ICO study into public attitudes toward data protection found that 97 per cent of those surveyed were concerned that organisations would pass or sell on their personal details. The survey also found more than half (53 per cent) considered details of the products they had bought to be personal information.

Yet only ten per cent of businesses were aware of the legal limitations of how they could use customer’s personal data.

Mr Graham said customers expected organisations to handle personal data properly and legally, adding: “Businesses that don’t meet that basic requirement are going to quickly find themselves losing customers.

“I think 2013 is the year that organisations will realise the commercial imperative of properly handling customer data. The stats we’ve seen about public concern around personal data show that.

“The message to business is simple: consumers understand the value of their personal data, and they expect you to too.”

Link: ICO annual report 

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