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BizReport : Internet : September 06, 2016

Survey prompts UK online shoppers to rethink who holds their data

A survey in the UK reveals that online shoppers are unaware of just how many organizations hold sensitive data about them.

by Helen Leggatt

According to data security firm Ground Labs' survey, most (84%) online shoppers in the UK believe that fewer than 20 organizations hold sensitive data about them. A third guessed even lower, believing their personal data was held by less than 10 organizations.

It wasn't until the survey participants were shown a list of 50 online services and retailers, including the likes of airline, retailers and utility services, that the realization set in that more organizations than they believed were holding their personal data. In fact, 2 in 5 respondents calculated the reality was significantly higher than their original perception.

And, says Ground Labs, the number of companies an online user interacts with is "simply a starting point" and 100's and 1,000's of potential copies of personal data may be made available via log files, email, automatic back-ups and companies who legally share data with third parties.

"Unless customers have an accurate idea of who has access to their data, they are unable to take the precautions necessary to protect themselves online," said John Cassidy, VP with Ground Labs.

"A conservative estimate would suggest that for any given adult, hundreds of thousands of copies of personal data reside on physical devices and cloud storage platforms both in and outside of the UK. Most people are unaware of the multiplying effect when dealing with so many service providers and so the responsibility must fall on companies to protect this sensitive data."

Tags: data insights, data trends, personal data, research, UK

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