ICO says businesses must advise consumers of data usage

Data protection

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has advised companies to be more transparent when it comes to revealing how they use customers' data.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said businesses should provide people with enough information to understand how their data will be used is a "basic principle of data protection."

He said: "While the vast majority of companies are meeting the letter of the law, figures released today show that most people remain concerned about how their information is being shared. This situation is not good for consumers, or for businesses."

The research in question revealed that 85 per cent of people were concerned about how companies use or sell their data, while 77 per cent are worried businesses might not keep personal information confidential.

Graham said: "We are set for a new data protection framework in the next three years, but there are still basic things that organisations can be doing today, not only to comply with the current legislation, but also to prepare for the future regulatory landscape."

The framework, developed by the ICO will include the organisation developing a privacy seal that communicates which companies are committed to good data protection practices and co-operating with wider transparency and Open Data initiatives set by the government.

Additionally, the ICO is preparing for the introduction of new EU data protection frameworks that will coincide with the Ministry of Justice's Triennial Review.

"Businesses should take the results of our survey as a prompt to address consumers' concerns and provide clearer information to explain when people's details will be shared and with whom. Getting these basics right today will not only improve consumer trust but also help a business along the road to future compliance," Graham finished.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.