Privacy watchdog calls for data safeguardsIt encourages people to protect against ID fraud

12 December 2007

A consumer signing a form

Firms must do more to protect consumers' personal details in wake of the lost child benefits data, the privacy watchdog has said.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says that the breach at HM Revenue and Customs – when computer discs holding personal data on 25 million people went missing – was a watershed moment.

It’s now called on organisations to implement new safeguards to help protect individuals’ privacy.

Information Commissioner

The ICO says that each time someone gives away their personal information they leave electronic footprints which build up a picture of every aspect of their daily life.

For this reason it is encouraging individuals to take more control over their personal information to help them guard against the risks of identity fraud.

The ICO says its own research shows that six out of ten people believe they have lost control over the way their personal information is handled.

Identity fraud

David Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, said: ‘Before giving out any personal information we advise individuals to make sure they know who they are giving their details to, why these details are needed and how they will be used.

‘If individuals are not satisfied with the response they should not feel obliged to give out their details they should simply ask to move on to the next question.’