Security body calls for data collection changes

Some 79 per cent of Brits are concerned about fraud, but they still reveal personal data online, according to a survey of 1,500 UK adults.

A whopping 84 per cent said they revealed highly sensitive information about themselves online. But the survey sponsor (ISC)2 said marketers continue to require people to register such information before they shop online, join a social networking group, or receive regular updates or newsletters.

Of those who revealed their personal data online, 86 per cent said they provide their postcode and 84 per cent their date of birth. Over a third (34 per cent) also reveal their mother's maiden name, 29 per cent are happy to name their place of birth, and 10 per cent give out bank account information.

"People are aware of the dangers of providing personal and highly sensitive data online such as date of birth and mother's maiden name and bank details but they still do," said John Colley, Europe, Middle East and Africa managing director for (ISC)2. "This makes it easy for criminals to find and use their personal data for identity theft and fraud."

The survey also found that when giving personal information online, most people (76 per cent) try to ensure the site they are visiting is secure and will protect their personal information.

Some two-thirds (76 per cent) also said they tick the box asking for their details to remain confidential and 14 per cent seek third party re-assurance that the site is legitimate. While 11 per cent research the site's validity with a relevant industry body.

But Colley added: "Websites should not be forcing or even asking people to submit these personal details about themselves. Consumers that want to shop online or sign up to receive information or join a social network for example, often have no choice if they want to proceed with their transaction. Yet we would never give this information to a shop assistant or someone surveying us in the street. It is time that marketers changed their data collection practices and stop asking people to reveal sensitive data online."

Colley added that companies should realise there are no guarantees that their networks or websites would not be infiltrated by cyber criminals and lose such sensitive data.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.