Authorities say public are more aware of their data rights than ever
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the body in charge of regulating data protection, has reported that the public has grown increasingly aware of its data privacy rights over the last twelve months. According to the report, the body has seen a rise in complaints and calls from the public, which it says is indicative of data protection and privacy matters becoming more important to people.
The ICO’s annual report highlighted a rise of 14.5% in data protection complaints, and a 29% rise in organisational self-reporting of data breaches, now mandatory under GDPR. Both of these numbers are expected to rise again in the next year. The report also highlights a 46,000 jump in calls from the previous year and a 61% rise in live chat requests. Most of these enquiries – approximately two thirds - were form members of the public and in relation to the Data Protection Act.
The rise in public concern is also reflected in the huge growth of fines and prosecutions being served to organisations who mishandle or misuse public data. In 2017/18, the ICO launched 19 prosecution efforts which resulted in 18 convictions and issued six cautions. Furthermore, the ICO is currently investigating 30 firms, including Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, in an effort to clamp down on data misuse during political campaigns.
The ICO has offered guidance and advice to all organisations when it comes to staying on the right side of the EU’s latest tough data protection laws, GDPR. They have also set up a small business helpline and launched a data protection awareness campaign to ensure small businesses and the general public remain aware of their data privacy rights.
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