Unisys Security Index Survey: ‘Britons place greater trust in banks to protect personal data than they do the NHS or central Government’

The latest Unisys survey shows a nation divided on the question of personal data protection ahead of NHS’ Care.data launch. The survey reveals lower levels of trust in many private sector organisations and that financial institutions are most trusted with personal data by members of the UK public. 15% of UK respondents to the survey do not trust any organisation with their personal information.

UK citizens place greater trust in banks and financial institutions to protect their personal data than they do the National Health Service (NHS) and central Government. This is a key finding of the annual global Unisys Security Index survey, the results of which are announced today.

The findings may raise concerns for the UK Government ahead of the launch this Autumn of Care.data, the NHS’ national health database.

The most recent Unisys Security Index asked UK respondents to select three types of organisation they most trust with their personal data from a list including financial institutions, the NHS, employers, central Government, private companies and service providers.

The largest percentage (53%) of respondents selected financial institutions. The NHS was the second most trusted of the organisations listed, and cited by 50% of respondents.

Among the lesser trusted organisations cited by the UK respondents are employers (44%), central Government (31%) and private companies (23%). Service organisations such as broadband, TV or telephone providers are seen as trustworthy by only 16% of those surveyed.

A significant 15% of the population said they do not trust any of the listed organisations with their data.

The UK Government has much work to do in reassuring the public of its data security measures before the delayed roll-out of the Care.data NHS database this autumn

The UK Government has much work to do in reassuring the public of its data security measures before the delayed roll-out of the Care.data NHS database this autumn

In addition, the Index revealed varying levels of trust in the NHS from different generations, with only 44% of UK respondents over 50 reporting that they trust the NHS with their personal data, in contrast to 555 of 18-49 year olds.

The proposed roll-out of Care.data, designed to hold NHS patients’ digital medical records for the care and health services, was delayed earlier this year due to public confusion over the initiative.

Work to be done on reassurance

Dr Gerhard Knecht, head of global security services and compliance at Unisys Enterprise Services, commented: “The NHS has work to do in reassuring a large part of the population that it can safely handle their personal data. We believe the Government must focus on educating the public on how their data will be treated and what security measures will be taken before its second attempt to launch the programme.”

Only 27.7& of UK respondents over the age of 65 listed central Government as one of their most trusted organisations compared to 39% of 25-34 year olds.

Dr Knecht added: “Despite widespread acknowledgement that the current Government has favoured older generations with its policies, the coalition clearly has more work to do in convincing old people of the benefits of its Digital Strategy, which was introduced well over two years ago in the 2012 budget.”

Sceptical North versus Trusting South

The research also reveals how Northerners are less trusting than Southerners when it comes to personal data, with 7% more respondents from the North claiming they don’t trust any of the organisations listed in the survey.

This divide is particularly apparent in their respective views on private companies, with just 20% of Northerners placing trust in them compared to 29% of Southerners.

Concerns over identity and financial protection

The Unisys Security Index results also show Brits are more worried about personal security than financial, Internet or national security threats.

More than half of respondents harbour concerns over identity theft and misuse of personal information. Financial security is the second greatest area of concern, with just under half (48%) of those surveyed expressing serious concern about other people obtaining and using their credit or debit card details.

The overall Unisys Security Index for Britain has dropped considerably from 2013, with a significant drop in the National Security Index score contributing the most to this decline. The National security index score for the UK has dropped 48 points, in fact, from 130 in 2013 to just 82 in 2014.

Despite 2013 being widely acknowledged as a bumper year for data breaches, less than a third (30%) of Brits surveyed are seriously concerned about computer security in relation to viruses or spam.

About the Unisys Security Index

Lieberman Research Group conducted the survey in Latin America, Europe, Malaysia and the USA. Newspoll conducted the research in Australia and New Zealand.

The Unisys Security Index surveys nearly 11,000 people in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

For more information visit: http://www.unisyssecurityindex.com

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