46pc of Irish don’t trust data protection legislation: survey

26 Mar 2010

Legislation surrounding data breaches and disclosure is not reassuring Irish internet users, says the Irish Computer Society as it revealed the results of its latest survey at the Annual Data Protection Conference 2010.

It was found that almost half of Irish Computer Society members taking part in the survey felt that they were not confident they would be contacted should their personal information be compromised in the event of a data breach.

81.7pc want new legislation for data breach disclosure

Added to this, 81.7pc of respondents agreed that new legislation should be introduced that requires organisations to notify the Data Protection Commissioner when a data breach occurs while 80.3pc said this legislation should also force an organisation to notify their customers in such a situation.

“Companies need to realise the importance of data protection in their companies and give it the time and training it deserves. In these troubled times, organisations need to minimise the risk of data breaches, which can occur through lack of training,” said Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society.

“For example, if a company were to send out text messages to an unfairly obtained list of 100 mobile numbers. They could be fined up to €3,000 per text message which would bring their fine to €300,000!”

Friars pointed out that data protection was not solely an IT issue but that all business owners, admin staff, public service employees and professionals across the board should fully understand privacy rights and in turn protect this right for customers and employees alike.

“At present, the public have little trust in their data being kept safe. Forty-six per cent of respondents have little or no confidence that they would be contacted in the event of their personal information being compromised.”

“On a positive note, a significant 57.8pc of respondents stated that their organisation does consider the often overlooked costs, such as damage to reputation, the risk of prosecution and the financial cost of dealing with the aftermath of a data protection breach,” he added.

The survey, which was conducted in March 2010, was unveiled yesterday to attendees of the data protection conference, which was officially opened today by Billy Hawkes, Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Irish Computer Society members would like to see a change in data protection legislation